Thyroid disease usually comes in two forms. One type of thyroid disease is hypothyroidism, which happens when the thyroid produces fewer hormones than it should. Another is hyperthyroidism, the result of an overactive thyroid. Each kind of thyroid disease has its own set of symptoms.
Because many of the symptoms of thyroid disease are present in other illnesses, the disease can easily be mistaken for something else. However, the condition often presents itself with more than one symptom, which makes this hormonal disorder a little bit easier to spot.
How thyroid disease occurs
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits at the base of the neck, just below the voice box. It produces two hormones that are referred to as T3 and T4. The pituitary gland tells the thyroid how much of each hormone it should produce.
The hormones produced by the thyroid regulate a person's metabolism, breathing, heart rate, body temperature, cholesterol level and in women, the menstrual cycle. When the thyroid produces too much or too little of the T3 and T4 hormones, a person will begin to exhibit certain symptoms. The more severe the thyroid disease, the more pronounced these symptoms will be.
Hypothyroidism and its symptoms
This disease happens when the thyroid produces insufficient levels of hormones. The signs of hypothyroidism are:
- Fatigue, even after a good night's sleep. The person will also sleep whenever they can. They will have marathon sleep sessions if given the chance
- Brain fog and/or lack of focus and concentration
- Intolerance to cold ambient temperature
- Symptoms of depression that do not resolve even with antidepressants
- Weight gain or failure to lose weight, even with diet and exercise
- Coarse, brittle and dry hair
- Dry and scaly skin
- Severe constipation that does not respond to treatment
- For women, heavier, more painful periods with a shorter cycle
- A person may also have puffy skin and bulging eyeballs
One complication of hypothyroidism in women is fertility issues that make it hard for a woman to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term.
When the thyroid produces too much of the T3 and T4 hormones, a person will experience:
- Insomnia and anxiety as the person tries to sleep
- A tendency to overheat even when the ambient temperature is normal
- Thinning or loss of hair
- Unusual rashes
- Irritable bowel syndrome or loose stools
Women may experience periods that are infrequent, shorter and lighter. In some cases, the periods may stop altogether. In rare cases, hyperthyroidism will present itself with low cholesterol that does not seem to be caused by exercise or diet.
Get a diagnosis and know for sure
Thyroid disease can affect anyone, though it is more common in women. Its symptoms could point to other illnesses or disorders, which is why a person should get tested for thyroid disease for a definitive diagnosis. If you are experiencing some of these listed symptoms, then contact us to find out whether your thyroid is working as it should.
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