How to Detect if Your Thyroid is Functioning Poorly
Although hypothyroidism is more common than hyperthyroidism, both conditions should be treated so that they do not influence the patient’s normal life development.
When something’s not quite right in the body, you’ll generally experience a series of symptoms that could interrupt your days.
But most of the time, people don’t place enough importance on these symptoms, and they attribute them to common discomforts, like a cold or stomach problems.
The problem is they’re not always the cause, and sometimes you’re suffering from a disorder that requires greater attention.
One of the most recurrent of these issues is related to the thyroid gland, which, when altered, unleashes various different reactions in the body.
This small gland, shaped like a butterfly, is located in the neck. It is responsible for producing hormones that regulate growth, metabolism, heart rate and other vital functions.
In spite of the fact that the majority of these symptoms are related to other conditions, an estimated 10% of the global population has some sort of thyroid dysfunction. Women are most affected, especially after 40 years of age, or after pregnancy.
How is poor thyroid functioning detected?
If anything is altering thyroid gland health, two conditions can occur:
- Hyperthyroidism: When the gland produces an excess amount of hormones.
- Hypothyroidism: When the gland stops producing the necessary amount of hormones.
Both cases occur because of an immune system problem, in which antibodies start to influence this organ causing it to behave inappropriately.
The starting point for detection begins with the abnormalities that show up in both physical and emotional health in the patients.
Symptoms vary according to the type of condition, but they’re generally what cause people to seek medical attention.
If you suspect that you have a thyroid problem, the doctor will evaluate you by palpitating your neck. Then a blood test will be performed to determine TSH values along with the thyroid hormone, to verify where the levels are.
With a well-timed correct diagnosis, a series of lifestyle modifications will be enacted, along with a treatment plan for controlling it.
Why suspect hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism occurs when the body secretes more thyroid hormones than necessary, which increases the metabolic rate.
This causes the body to experience a few changes in relation to its normal state, and the patient could experience:
- Heart palpitations or an increased heart rate.
- Increase in blood pressure.
- Nervousness, anxiety and insomnia.
- Increase in appetite or excessive weight loss.
- Weak hair and nails.
- Muscular fatigue.
- Sensitivity to heat and excessive sweating.
- Difficulties with vision.
- Irregular menstrual periods.
- Constant bowel movements.
Why suspect hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism cases are up to four times more common than hyperthyroidism. It is caused by a reduced production of thyroid hormones.
This imbalance implies that the affected individual could suffer from symptoms like:
- Sense of weakness or chronic fatigue.
- Intolerance to cold.
- Loss of appetite and weight gain.
- Fluid retention.
- High blood pressure.
- Cold, dry and rough skin.
- Dry hair and thin, brittle nails.
- Difficulties concentrating and memory problems.
- Slow speech and movements.
- Irregular menstrual periods.
- Joint pain
- Depression and sadness.
How to detect a thyroid problem at home
In addition to keeping the aforementioned symptoms in mind, there’s also a simple method for detecting a thyroid disease at home.
- Grab a mirror and concentrate on the lower front area of the neck, just above the clavicles and below your voice box.
- Then lean your head back and drink a glass of water. Pay attention while drinking.
- If you notice a bump or bulge in this area while drinking, see a doctor.
If your health discomforts are permanent, and they don’t improve with common treatments, it’s best to see a specialist for a specialized analysis.
If you have proven that something is wrong with your thyroid, you must make changes in your life to prevent worsening the symptoms.
Your thyroid and your diet
The thyroid gland uses iodine for appropriate hormone production. Deficiency in this nutrient could alter thyroid functioning, or make it worse.
Iodine can be absorbed naturally with the following foods:
- Plain yogurt
- Cheese and milk
- Swiss chard
In order to make sure you are following the right diet, try to see a trusted nutritionist.