How To Tell If You Have An Underactive Thyroid – Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, is when the thyroid gland produces too little hormone. Low thyroid hormone levels can cause a wide range of signs and symptoms, from changes in mental functioning to digestive problems.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck. Thyroid hormones play a vital role in regulating metabolism and energy use and affect almost every organ in the body.
How To Tell If You Have An Underactive Thyroid
In the early stages, a person may not notice any symptoms. However, without treatment, hypothyroidism can lead to serious complications, including infertility and heart disease.
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In this article, we describe 12 common signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism. We also talk about how common hypothyroidism is and when you should see a doctor.
Many people with this condition report feeling so exhausted that they cannot get through the day as usual.
Fatigue occurs regardless of how much sleep a person gets or how many naps they take during the day. Treatment for hypothyroidism usually improves people’s energy levels and functioning.
Regulate body weight, food intake and fat and sugar metabolism. People with low thyroid hormone levels may experience weight gain and increased body mass index (BMI).
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Even mild cases of hypothyroidism can increase the risk of weight gain and obesity. People with this condition often report having a puffy face and excess weight around the stomach or other areas of the body.
Research also suggests a link between thyroid disorders and rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune condition that causes painful swelling in the lining of the joints. Effective treatment for both conditions will help people manage their symptoms.
Hypothyroidism can slow down your metabolism, which can cause your body temperature to drop. As such, some people with low thyroid hormone levels may feel cold all the time or have a low cold tolerance.
This cold feeling can persist, even in a warm room or during the summer months. People with hypothyroidism often report that their hands or feet are cold, although they may feel that their whole body is cold.
Thyroid Problems: Symptoms Of Overactive And Underactive Thyroid
However, these symptoms are not exclusive to hypothyroidism. Circulation problems or anemia can also make people feel cold.
Studies report that an underactive thyroid can cause problems with bowel movement and activity in the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine.
. A person may also have hard stools, difficulty passing stools, or feeling unable to empty the rectum completely.
Thyroid hormones play a vital role in removing excess cholesterol from the body through the liver. Low hormone levels cause the liver to struggle to perform this function, and blood cholesterol levels can rise.
Symptoms Of Thyroid Problems
Suggests that up to 13 percent of people with high cholesterol also have an underactive thyroid. As a result, many experts recommend that doctors routinely test for hypothyroidism in people with high cholesterol.
Treating a thyroid problem can help lower cholesterol levels, even in those not taking cholesterol-lowering medications.
People with hypothyroidism may also have a slow heart rate or bradycardia. Low thyroid levels can also affect the heart in other ways. These effects may include:
Bradycardia can cause weakness, dizziness and breathing problems. Without treatment, this heart condition can lead to serious complications, such as high or low blood pressure or heart failure.
Hyperthyroid Symptoms Checklist
Untreated hormonal disorders, including thyroid problems, can contribute to hair loss. This is because thyroid hormones are essential for the growth and health of hair follicles. hypothyroidism
People with thyroid problems are also more likely to develop alopecia, which is an autoimmune disease that causes hair to fall out in patches.
People with hypothyroidism may also have dry, brittle, coarse hair or dull, thin nails that break easily.
A goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland that appears as a swelling at the base of the neck. Other goiter symptoms include:
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Many thyroid problems can cause goiter, including iodine deficiency and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune condition that damages the thyroid gland, preventing it from producing enough hormones.
According to the Menstrual Cycle Research Association, hypothyroidism causes these problems because it affects other hormones that play a role in menstruation, including:
, hypothyroidism affects about 4.6 percent of people age 12 and older in the United States. However, most of these people experience only mild symptoms.
It is vital that people with unexplained fatigue or other signs or symptoms of hypothyroidism see a doctor. Without treatment, an underactive thyroid can lead to serious complications, including infertility, obesity and heart disease.
Underactive Thyroid Gland (hypothyroidism)
A doctor can do a simple blood test to check a person’s thyroid hormone levels. Treatment of hypothyroidism involves taking synthetic thyroid hormones. These medications are safe and effective once a person takes the right dose.
Because thyroid hormones are essential for the normal functioning of many different parts of the body, low levels can cause a variety of symptoms.
It is vital that people with these or other symptoms of hypothyroidism see their doctor for evaluation and treatment. Doctors can prescribe hormone replacement pills to effectively treat people with low thyroid hormone levels.
Medical News Today has strict sourcing guidelines and relies only on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical journals and associations. We avoid using third party references. We link to primary sources (including studies, scientific references and statistics) within each article and also list them in the sources section at the end of our articles. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy. The thyroid is the butterfly-shaped gland in the neck. This gland produces hormones that regulate the body’s use of energy, along with many other important functions. Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid is underactive. When thyroid hormone production decreases, your body’s processes slow down and change. Hypothyroidism can affect many different systems in the body.
What You Should Know About The Thyroid
Hypothyroidism can affect metabolism, mental functions, energy levels, and bowel movements. Depending on the low level of thyroid hormone production, your symptoms can be mild to severe.
Sometimes symptoms such as fatigue, weakness and constipation can be difficult to distinguish from other conditions. To confirm that you have hypothyroidism, your doctor will need to do blood tests to check your thyroid hormone levels.
When you have hypothyroidism, your body produces too little of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4. These hormones control your metabolism. They affect the way your body uses energy. As a result, many of your body’s main functions change and may slow down.
Hypothyroidism slows the heart rate and weakens the heartbeat, making the heart less efficient at pumping blood around the body. This can make you short of breath when you exercise. By narrowing the arteries, this condition can also increase blood pressure.
Signs Of Thyroid Problems
Hypothyroidism can lead to high cholesterol. Together, high blood pressure and high cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease.
Untreated hypothyroidism can change the way nerves carry information to the brain, spinal cord, and body. This can cause a condition called peripheral neuropathy. Its symptoms include numbness, tingling, pain or burning in the affected body parts.
Too little thyroid hormone weakens the muscles you use to breathe and makes your lungs work less efficiently. As a result, you may feel short of breath or have trouble exercising.
Hypothyroidism also makes you more likely to develop sleep apnea, which are pauses in breathing that occur during sleep.
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Hypothyroidism slows the movement of food through the stomach and intestines. Slow digestion can lead to symptoms such as heartburn, constipation and bloating.
Women with hypothyroidism may have irregular periods, heavy periods, or missed periods. They may have trouble getting pregnant or be more likely to have a miscarriage if they do get pregnant.
A lack of thyroid hormone can leave the skin dry and pale. It can also affect how you control your body temperature, causing you to sweat less than usual. Your hair, including the hair on your scalp and the outer edges of your eyebrows, may thin. Nails may look different and become brittle.
Hypothyroidism can affect all parts of the body, from the brain to the skin. However, the situation is different for everyone. Some people have mild symptoms, while others have more severe symptoms. Taking the medication prescribed by your doctor is important so that you can manage this disease and its symptoms and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Why You Need To Know Thyroid Disease Symptoms In Kids
Has strict sourcing guidelines and is based on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using third party references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy. Amy Myers, MD is a functional medicine physician, trained and certified by the Institute of Functional Medicine. Dr. Myers earned her doctorate of medicine (M.D.) at LSU Health Sciences Center and completed her residency in emergency medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Dr. Myers retired from her functional medicine clinic, Austin UltraHealth, where she served thousands of patients, to empower those failed by conventional medicine. She is a New York Times bestselling author and the founder and CEO of health and lifestyle e-commerce brand Amy Myers MD
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