Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, occurs when your thyroid gland isn’t working the way it should. It’s important to remember that your thyroid is the most essential gland in your body.
Because the thyroid can affect a variety of functions, if it’s not working right it can pose a risk to your health. Unfortunately, it’s easy to miss some of the early signs something is going wrong.
Try to always be aware of the following warning signs of hypothyroidism:
Weakness and hair loss
Hypothyroidism can cause different types of problems related to your hair. The most common is thinning hair, split ends, hair loss, and dryness.
If you’ve always had a healthy head of hair and suddenly one of these problems appears, pay attention to any other symptoms. Don’t be overly concerned if this is the only thing you notice.
Changes in your diet and lifestyle can also affect how your hair grows and looks.
If a member of your family also has the same hair problem, odds are it’s a genetic issue rather than your thyroid.
See also: 7 foods that prevent hair loss
Constantly feeling coldIf you feel cold all the time even though you know you’re in a warm area, it could be a sign of hypothyroidism. This is one of the most reliable warnings that your thyroid isn’t functioning like it should.
What you’re experiencing is an intolerance to cold. The difference between this and actual hypersensitivity to cold temperatures is the presence of a deep pain in your bones.
Before you worry about feeling cold, figure out whether or not it’s an issue with the climate around you. If you’ve moved recently, you might notice you experience some discomfort as you adjust to new weather.
If you haven’t made any recent changes, on the other hand, you should visit your doctor.
Do you find yourself suffering from forgetfulness and mental fatigue? Does it happen even when you’re keeping a healthy diet?
Mental fatigue is very common in people who keep stressful working hours. But if you take a break for a while and that feeling of tiredness returns, it could be a symptom of hypothyroidism.
There’s a strong link between your hormone levels and how well your bodily organs are functioning. A lack of thyroid hormone actually weakens your brain.
This is what causes memory lapses and black outs. If you’ve experienced them on rare occasions in the past, it’s normal.
But if they appear on a regular basis it could indicate that you have hypothyroidism.
Sudden increase or decrease in weightWhen your thyroid isn’t functioning properly you might experience sudden fluctuations in your weight, either up or down. Your eating habits probably won’t have any effect on this.
Changes in weight will typically occur immediately. This is because the hormones that the thyroid normally produces control your body’s storage and use of fat.
When your thyroid stops working like it should, you don’t properly burn fat. In some people, it could also result in excess calorie burn, while other people will accumulate more and store them as fat.
Pain and muscle cramps
Are you experiencing cramping and constant muscle aches? Unless you’ve recently started a new exercise routine it could be s sign of hypothyroidism.
When your thyroid begins to fail to do its job, mineral accumulation can cause pain and cramping in the joints and muscles.
The main areas of your body that are affected by this are the hands and legs.
DepressionDo you feel sad, uninterested, or depressed by common activities? Hypothyroidism can have this effect thanks to the complex combination of hormones it is normally in charge of.
When the hormones become imbalanced, depression often appears. In these cases you’ll find that therapy or behavioral changes don’t improve your situation.
Usually this type of depression requires medication. It will help you achieve the balance again, but it’s not easy.
While there have been some studies on this subject, your doctor will still likely have to make several adjustments to your medication before finding the right balance.
Dry nails and skin
Brittle nails and dry skin are a clear sign that you’re suffering from hypothyroidism. Of course, you know your own body well and are aware of certain times of the year when you experience drier skin and nails than usual.
In the winter, for example, it’s normal to expect these symptoms when the air is dry and winds are cold and constant. A clear sign of a problem is when brittle nails and hair persist into the warmer months as well.
The problem with dry skin is that if left untreated, you can suffer from serious injuries. The skin becomes more delicate and could lead to infections. This is a very serious problem for people who have other disorders, such as diabetes.
We recommend you read 8 foods for clear skin
Decreased sex driveHave you noticed that your sexual desire has suddenly decreased for no reason? A lot of factors can cause this, it’s true. But once you’ve ruled out stress, poor circulation, or an unhappy relationship, for example, you should consider having your thyroid checked.
Don’t get too worried because odds are a decrease in sexual desire isn’t your fault. Usually it’s just a symptom, and once you’ve uncovered the main problem everything will return to normal.
All of the symptoms we’ve discussed in this article can be indicative of other types of problems, as we said in the beginning.
Still, if you notice that you’re experiencing more than one of them at the same time, it’s worth paying a visit to your doctor. A generic checkup could help you find answers to your questions.
Usually there are some very simple tests that will determine whether you have a thyroid condition that requires treatment.