Signs Your Thyroid Isn’t working properly, and what you should do about it
We all know that life can be exhausting. With the responsibilities of parenthood, the rigours of a demanding workplace, and the everyday stresses that we all encounter at some stage or another, we can often feel like hitting the hay way before our normal bedtime. Sure, it may actually be because of your long and unforgiving day, the slog at work, or the constant pull of responsibility that is wearing you down and making you emotional, but if you’ve been wondering if there is something else at play, something health-related, then perhaps you’ve come to the right place.
Welcome to the importance of thyroid health.
In fact, and to further elaborate, if you have been experiencing thyroid-like symptoms and believe something’s wrong with your thyroid after googling a possible answer (something that’s not always recommend) then this blog will certainly provide a little insight. On the other hand, and if you have actually been tested by a medical professional for thyroid deficiencies and are looking for some extra reading material, then again, this blog might be beneficial. So wherever you fit on the thyroid spectrum, let us start at the beginning:
What does your thyroid actually do?
The easier question, perhaps, is to ask what doesn’t your thyroid do? In actual fact, and to offer some clarity, your thyroid is an amazing little butterfly-shaped gland that secretes hormones that regulate, well, pretty much everything your body does. And we mean everything.
- The patterns of your menstrual cycles
- Healthy heart function
- The complex processes involved with digestion
- Mood and emotional health (this can be a little trickier to diagnose)
- Bone density
- Healthy brain function
- And even your metabolism
Yeah. Like we said.
Pretty much everything.
In actual fact, and if we were to be 100% technical and explore all the medical literature surrounding the comprehensive function of the human thyroid gland, the resulting list would be unfathomable. That’s why it’s crucial that your thyroid is healthy and in good working order, and why, conversely, it can ruin your life if it’s not. Too little thyroid hormone for example (which is referred to as underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism) can leave you feeling like you’re walking up a hill with a huge weight on your back. You’re tired. Irritable. And physically compromised. But too much thyroid hormone isn’t good either, as it can leave you feeling panicky and adrenalized, and not in a good way. Paranoia. Overthinking. Ultra-sensitivity, these are just some of the symptoms of an overactive thyroid.
Yeah. We know.
It can be a fine balancing act of producing too much or too little thyroid hormone, but that simply reiterates the importance of having a healthy and functioning thyroid.
The symptoms of thyroid problems generally stem from either one of two possibilities. A thyroid that makes too much hormone (as we’ve already touched upon), resulting in an unwanted flood so to speak, or, conversely, an underactive thyroid that produces too little. Sounds simple enough, but the ensuing problems can vary greatly and are often non-specific, so it’s important to know exactly which side of the thyroid pendulum is at fault:
Here are some of the symptoms of an overactive thyroid gland, commonly referred to as Hyperthyroid:
- Dizziness, vertigo
- Heart palpitations
- Feeling hot
- Excess sweat
- Menstrual issues
- Blurred vision
- Weight changes (usually loss)
- Thinning of hair
Hypothyroid, although sounding very similar (it’s literally one letter) is obviously the opposite. Also known as hypothyroidism, symptoms of an underactive thyroid include:
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Dry skin
- Dry hair that’s prone to breakage
- Pale skin
- Cold intolerance
- Memory problems
- Heavy or erratic periods
- Decreased libido
From an incorrect amount of iodine in your diet (which is integral to healthy thyroid hormone production), to certain medication, autoimmune diseases, and even pregnancy, there is a long list of reasons as to why your thyroid can become compromised. Sure, you can research on your own, but if you have been displaying any of the above symptoms for a significant amount of time, or they just don’t seem to be going away, then perhaps it’s time to see your doctor about a possibly thyroid issue.
Yes. There are treatments
Although having either an underactive or overactive thyroid sounds scary, with their respective list of unpleasant symptoms of course, luckily, modern medicine has become the great equalizer. After being properly tested, in fact, (with the assistance of specified bloodwork testing for thyroid-stimulating hormones, or TSH) your doctor will then recommend a form of hormone replacement therapy to balance any thyroid discrepancies. Although common, especially among females, thyroid problems can often be medically remedied and leave the sufferer to lead a relatively normal and happy life. So, if you feel that your physical or psychological health have been failing you as of late, and haven’t improved, then maybe a suspect thyroid is the problem.