Located above the Adam’s apple, the thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that can have a huge impact on various bodily functions. According to The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, about 30 million U.S. citizens have a thyroid disorder and half of them are silent sufferers who are undiagnosed. In addition to this, women are 10 times more susceptible to thyroid disorder than men.
The thyroid produces a hormone which regulates your body’s metabolism, temperature, and heartbeat. When your thyroid is over- or underactive, it’s known as a thyroid disorder. If it’s underactive, it produces too little of said hormone and vice versa. So, what causes the thyroid to go haywire? It could be an autoimmune attack, genetics, stress, pregnancy, toxins in the environment, or nutritional deficiencies. Whatever the reasons, you should be able to spot some key signs of this silent killer. Here are 5 of the most crucial signs of thyroid disorder:
1. You are feeling tired, depressed, or anxious.
Feeling exhausted and having little or no energy are issues related to various medical conditions, but they are strongly linked with Hypothyroidism (the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of its hormone). If you feel tired all day even after a full night’s sleep, that is a clue that your thyroid is not working properly. Having too little of the hormone in question in your bloodstream means that your muscles are not getting that get-going signal. Further still, the hormone deficiency can also have an impact on the level of “feel good” serotonin in the brain, which causes depression.
If you feel anxious all day long, you might have Hyperthyroidism (the thyroid gland produces too much of its hormone). Flooded with continuous “all systems go” messages, your whole body may spin into overdrive. If you are unable to relax and feel jittery all day long, that means that your thyroid may be “hyper.”
2. Your blood pressure is not normal.
High blood pressure can be a symptom of a thyroid disorder. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism have been pointed to as culprits. By some estimates, people who suffer from hypothyroidism are at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure than those who do not. One popular theory is that low levels of thyroid hormone can slow the heartbeat, which can in turn adversely affect blood vessel wall flexibility and the heart’s pumping strength. Both may cause high blood pressure.
3. Your appetite or taste buds are altered.
Too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) results in feeling hungry all of the time; therefore, increased appetite can be a sign of thyroid disorder. Furthermore, people with hyperthyroidism never gain weight and, in most of the conditions, they are underweight. If you are underweight and unable to gain weight after you’ve exhausted all of your options, then you should consider getting your thyroid checked as early as possible.
On the other hand, an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can alter your sense of smell and taste. People suffering from hypothyroidism start gaining weight. If you are overweight and unable to lose weight, then you should also consider getting your thyroid checked.
4. The shape of your neck feels abnormal.
A lump in your throat or a change in your voice could be an important sign of a thyroid hormone disorder. You can check this by taking a good look at your neck to see if you can detect any signs of swelling around your thyroid. You can physically check your own thyroid at home using the following instructions:
Take a hand mirror and watch your throat area as you swallow water. You should be looking for any protrusions or bulges in the thyroid, which is above your collarbone but below your Adam’s apple. You can try this many times to get an idea about the position of your thyroid gland. If you see anything that is suspicious or lumpy, see your doctor.
5. Your hair is thinning or falling out.
Brittle, dry hair that falls or breaks out can be a sign of hypothyroidism. Having too little of the thyroid hormone disrupts the hair growth cycle and puts many follicles into the “resting” mode, which results in hair loss. Sometimes, this hair loss happens all over your body.
Keeping Your Thyroid In Check:
Thyroid disorder is considered a “silent killer” because many people ignore its symptoms and its symptoms are associated with other ailments. Relying on the above-mentioned signs, you can easily detect the presence of thyroid disorder. If you find that you have any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.