Thyroid disorders are becoming more obscured than ever. There are many out there who don’t even have a hint that their butterfly-shaped gland is having a hard time. At least, that’s what the American Thyroid Association (ATA) believes.
An estimated 20 million Americans suffer from some type of thyroid problem. It may be a sad surprise, but approximately 15 million people are silent sufferers of thyroid disorders. This is quite unsettling for anyone who is taken unaware by a thyroid disorder, as it can lead to some serious health complications, such as weight loss or weight gain, infertility, mood changes, etc. If you’re a female aged 35 or above, you have greater risk of acquiring the disorder. What’s more, an underactive thyroid in children can be life-threatening. However, shooting through all the odds, scientists have discovered a “switch that turns on the thyroid.”
Huge responsibility for a tiny gland
Breathing, central and peripheral nervous systems, heart rate, muscle strength, body weight, menstrual cycles, cholesterol levels, body temperature, and the list continues—your tiny thyroid has got a huge job description that includes regulating numerous health aspects and releasing hormones. The one thing that confuses people (and sometimes even doctors) when identifying thyroid disorders is the variety of symptoms that can develop. This makes it tough to detect the root cause.
Sleepiness, foggy brain, weight loss? Don’t be ignorant. You could be one of the 20 million! If you are nervous about a potential thyroid problem, these symptoms should ring the alarm for you.
1. No sex drive
Hypothyroidism is a killer of sex drive. Low libido is often linked with too little thyroid hormone, as the thyroid shares a connection with adrenal glands as well as sexual hormones. Complaints of low testosterone levels have also been resolved through thyroid treatment.
2. Dry, itchy skin
Rashes may appear as poor thyroid function weakens your blood circulation, changing the appearance of your skin. Moreover, less sweat is a result of slow metabolism, which can make your skin dry and flaky due to a lack of moisture.
3. Lazy digestive track
You could be constipated due to the slowing down of your bodily functions because of hypothyroidism, mainly digestion. Hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, can force you to visit the restroom very frequently, or you may even suffer from diarrhea.
4. Irregular body temperature
It’s simple: hypothyroidism will always lower the body temperature, while hyperthyroidism will always increase it. This is because your thyroid gland also controls your body temperature. Having said that, menopause can cause such changes as well.
5. Pains you can’t explain
Are your muscles causing you pain for no reason? It could be a sign of low thyroid function. Hypothyroidism means less metabolism-controlling hormones, which causes disruption in metabolism activity and sometimes causes nerve damage.
6. Fatigue and forgetfulness
Feeling down and lacking energy constantly? A lack of hormones may be the reason. This hurts your brain and neurological functioning and causes sleeplessness, constant tiredness, and fatigue. An underactive thyroid turns your mood down as many bodily functions slow down. Do you also have depression? This may be the time to get your thyroid tested.
7. Weight gain
You are eating the same foods, in the same amounts, but still you are gaining weight? If you can’t buckle up the same size pants you were wearing before, your low metabolic rate could be due to less thyroid hormonal function.
This January is National Thyroid Awareness Month. In order to educate people about thyroid disorders, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and Grave’s disease, Bel Marra Health has put up some important news and articles.
Should you get your thyroid tested?
Yes, if you want to put an end your suspicions that your thyroid is acting strangely and showing some confusing symptoms. Having a thyroid stimulating hormone test (TSH) done will help you boil down to a clear and accurate result. A simple thyroid neck check should also do the job for you.
If your thyroid reports reveal that you have a problem, you don’t need to get disappointed or worried. Exercise has proved to be quite effective; besides, you can normalize your thyroid functioning by eating the right foods. Your doctor will aim to bring your thyroid activity back to a normal pace—not too fast or too slow. You must cooperate with your doctor—negligence can make the disorder lifelong. Medications are helpful, however, in severe cases, you may be asked to go under the knife to have your thyroid removed. So, waste no time and get diagnosed early—the faster you’re treated, the better you will recover.
Featured photo credit: COM SALUD/Creative Commons via flickr.com