The thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland located at front of our neck below the Adam’s apple, is a small but very important gland that releases hormones that have a huge impact on metabolism, among other processes. According to the American Thyroid Association, about 20 million Americans suffer from some form of thyroid malfunction, yet 60 percent don’t realize that they even have a problem. This makes realizing that the thyroid is malfunctioning really important.
Bright Side brings to you 10 signs that indicate that your thyroid might be acting up and it’s time to pay the doctor a visit. Don’t miss our important bonus at the end.
Dry, scaly and thick skin
Hypothyroidism leads to the calcification of the skin, causing it to appear thick, very dry, and scaly in texture.
Hair loss/thinning hair
Hair growth depends on the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. Changes in the level of the hormone produced by the thyroid gland can lead to changes in hair growth. Excessive production of the hormone can cause the hair to become thin all over the scalp while underproduction of the hormone can lead to hair loss
Thyroid hormones play a role in regulating the bowel movement. An underactive thyroid can cause constipation, while an overactive thyroid can result in frequent bowel movements.
If you have been feeling anxious or unsettled lately, there’s a chance that your thyroid gland has been acting up. Overproduction of thyroid hormones results in more brain stimulation causing patients to feel jittery or anxious. Underproduction of the hormone has the opposite effect, it makes the patient feel depressed and tired.
Feeling unusually cold/unusual sweating
The thyroid gland is like a thermostat for our body in the sense that it regulates body temperature. If the hormone production gets beefed up it unusually increases the body’s metabolism causing people to feel overly warm and sweaty. If there is a deficiency of the thyroid hormone in the body the patient might be prone to having low body temperatures and cold intolerance.
Thyroid hormones are responsible for regulating the body’s metabolism. Lower than normal production of the hormone can significantly decrease metabolism and calorie burning abilities of the body causing you to gain weight, while over secretion of it will make you lose weight abruptly.
If you are experiencing period problems, improper thyroid functioning might be the culprit. A lack of enough hormones will make the periods heavier, longer, or cause them to occur closer together while an abundant production of the hormone might make your periods lighter or cause them to occur further apart.
Brain fogging/difficulty concentrating
If your thyroid isn’t working properly, neither is your brain. An underactive thyroid can cause subtle memory loss while an overactive thyroid can make it difficult to concentrate.
Neck discomfort or enlargement
Both overproduction and underproduction of the thyroid hormone can lead to the enlargement of the thyroid gland causing the neck to appear swollen.
Changes in heart rate
Under secretion of the thyroid hormone can cause the heart to beat slowly, whereas hyperthyroidism causes a fast heartbeat.
Bonus: Who is at a greater risk?
- Women more than men
- Women over 60 years of age
- People with a family history of thyroid related problems
Neck check for thyroid disorder:
Tip your head back and swallow. Examine your neck around the Adam’s apple and the area above your collarbones. If you feel lumps or bulges, see a doctor.