The thyroid is an endocrine gland which is present below Adam’s apple and on the front of the windpipe. The thyroid gland releases crucial hormones responsible for metabolic processes that take place in your body.
An abnormal amount of the thyroid hormones in the body can lead to disorders such as – hypothyroidism, insufficient hormone production, and hyperthyroidism, excessive hormone production.
Early Warning Signs of Thyroid Problems
The signs of thyroid problems vary in every individual, depending on whether there is excessive or lower than normal levels of thyroid hormone levels in the body.
Women are more likely to have thyroid problems than men. One in every eight women is expected to develop thyroid problems at least once in her life. Depending on certain factors like age, body type, and amount of thyroid hormone in the body, some women are more prone to thyroid problems than others.
Here are some of the signs and symptoms that could indicate a problem with the Thyroid gland:
- Fatigue: Feeling tired or worn out is one of the most common signs of thyroid disorder. People with hyperthyroidism may feel jittery or nervous, while those with hypothyroidism may feel exhausted and weary.
- Weight Loss or Gain: An indicator of low thyroid hormone is sudden weight gain. Due to the low levels of thyroid hormones and low energy, your body is unable to burn the required calories for a healthy weight, resulting in excessive weight gain. Similarly, when the body is struggling with excessive energy, the metabolism works faster, leading to rapid weight loss. If you feel you are losing weight without any reason, it is recommended to seek medical advice and check levels of Thyroid hormone.
- Hair Loss: Do not be alarmed at some amount of hair loss- that is normal. But, if you find bald spots or your hair is thinning out unexpectedly, then consult a doctor.
- Oily or Dry Skin: Hypothyroidism causes your skin to dry out as thyroid hormone is not released in the required amounts.
On the other hand, hyperthyroidism causes the opposite effect. When the thyroid hormone is released in excess, it makes your skin oily.
- Abnormal Growth on the Neck: Medically known as goitres, these growths on the neck are an indicator of a thyroid disorder. The swelling of the thyroid gland results in thyroid nodules. It could also be because of abnormal growth in the thyroid gland. If you notice a growth near your neck area, contact the doctor right away.
- Heart-related issues: Insufficient thyroid hormone slows your heart rate. Because it makes the arteries less elastic, blood pressure rises to circulate around the body. Another potential consequence of low thyroid levels include elevated cholesterol levels, which contribute to narrowed, hardened arteries.
Excess thyroid hormone also causes high blood pressure making the heart to beat harder and faster, which may trigger abnormal heart rhythms. One is atrial fibrillation, a disorganized rhythm in the heart’s upper chambers. A related symptom is palpitations, a sudden awareness of your heartbeat.
- Mood Swings: Thyroid problems affect the way your brain functions; in turn, changing your mood makes you feel emotionally and mentally drained. Some may experience depression due to thyroid problems. In such cases, therapy, along with medical treatment, is recommended.
- Irregular Periods: An imbalance in the amount of thyroid hormone released can cause irregular periods. Hypothyroidism will make your period flow heavier than usual, while hyperthyroidism will make it lighter. In some cases, hyperthyroidism might even make your period disappear over time.
Prevention is better than cure. While these symptoms may not necessarily indicate thyroid problems, but if you experience any the above mentioned symptoms of thyroid disorders, contact your doctor immediately and seek medical advice.
but it is recommended to see a doctor if you experience any of these signs and symptoms.
Read More: 5 Signs of Hyperthyroidism and its Treatment
FAQs of Thyroid:
- What does thyroid affect?
The thyroid gland is a part of the endocrine system that releases hormones that help with the metabolic processes of the body. It also controls brain development, heart and muscle function, bone and blood density. Its function depends on the amount of iodine absorbed from the food. Cells extract and absorb iodine from the blood. They incorporate it into the thyroid hormones released in the body.
The thyroid gland releases two hormones – thyroxine (known as T4) and triiodothyronine (known as T3).
Thyroxine is the inactive prohormone and is produced in a higher (80%) amount. Whereas, triiodothyronine is the highly active hormone and is produced in a lesser (20%) amount.
Thyroid symptoms develop over the years. It is best to seek advice from a doctor at the early stages.
- What is the common cause of hypothyroidism?
The causes of hypothyroidism vary in every individual. However, the most common cause is an autoimmune disorder – Hashimoto’s disease, also known as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
It is the inflammation of thyroid gland caused by your immune system attacking the thyroid gland. This results in hypothyroidism because of the insufficient amount of hormone produced.
- What foods are advised for hypothyroidism?
Food items with the right nutrients may not cure hypothyroidism, but it can help restore thyroid function and minimize some of the symptoms.
Goitrogenic foods like kale, soy, cabbage, etc. are some of the food items that should be taken when you have hypothyroidism.
- Soya foods: tofu, etc.
- Certain vegetables: cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, spinach, etc.
- Fruits and starchy plants: sweet potatoes, cassava, peaches, strawberries, etc.
- Nuts and seeds: millet, pine nuts, peanuts, etc