How to Tell if Your Thyroids Aren’t Functioning Well

· May 22, 2018
Thyroid problems may be overlooked, since they are often confused with common health issues. See a specialist if you have any suspicions, and learn more about how you can tell if they're functioning right. 

Do you think your thyroids may not be functioning properly?  Today, we’ll give you some things to check to see if there’s a problem.

As you know, your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck, in front of your trachea.

First of all, it plays an important role in your body. After all, it’s in charge of producing the hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine, as well as regulating your metabolism and other organs.

The reason it’s so important is that each cell of your body depends on thyroid hormones for its growth and development.

Therefore, the organ influences all of the following, among other things:

  • Heart rate
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Body weight
  • Energy levels
  • Muscle strength
  • Skin condition
  • Menstrual regularity
  • Memory

Your thyroids use iodine to make the hormones. Iodine is an essential element for proper thyroid function, and your body gets it through food.

An iodine deficiency can cause issues in the organ, or make existing issues worse.

As you may know, you can get iodine from foods such as:

  • Dairy (yogurt, cheese, milk)
  • Fruit (oranges, apples, pineapple)
  • Vegetables (beets, chard, onion)
  • Garlic
  • Beans
  • Kelp

Don’t forget to read: 7 Iodine Packed Beverages to Improve Thyroid Function

Common symptoms

Unfortunately, there is no one specific symptom that indicates poor thyroid function in its beginning stages.

However, laboratory tests are the most reliable indication.

No matter what, it’s important to know that thyroid anomalies have common symptoms that are easy to attribute to other conditions like:

  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Dementia

In addition, your thyroids may increase in size and change shape. In this case, we call them “goiters,” and what you see is a small mass in your neck.

Unfortunately, thyroid issues are usually asymptomatic. However, these symptoms may cause difficulty swallowing or breathing, or make your voice sound different.

On the other hand, the most well-known thyroid conditions are hyper- and hypothyroidism, which may or may not come along with an increase in the size of the gland.

Check out this article: Fight Hypothyroidism with Foods that Speed Up Your Metabolism

Symptoms of hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is up to four times more common than hyperthyroidism. It involves a decreased production of thyroid hormones.

Thus, the resulting imbalance can lead to irregular functioning in your body.

Some symptoms of hypothyroidism are:

  • Fatigue
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight gain (between 4 and 8 pounds, a consequence of fluid retention)
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Cold, dry, rough skin
  • Trouble concentrating and memory problems
  • Slower speech and movement
  • Menstrual cycle irregularities
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Lack of energy and sleepiness

If you have hypothyroidism, you should eat a balanced, varied diet with foods from all food groups, especially those rich in fiber and low in fat.

In addition, you should increase daily physical activity.

Read this, too: Hypothyroidism: How to Care for Your Thyroid

Signs of hyperthyroidism

Next, hyperthyroidism is another condition of the thyroid glands.

Unlike hypothyroidism, in this case, your body produces more thyroid hormones than it needs. Thus, it speeds up your metabolism.

Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Increase in heart rate (palpitations) and blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Increase in appetite and weight loss
  • Sensitivity to heat
  • Thin, fragile hair
  • Muscle weakness
  • Vision problems
  • Menstrual cycle irregularities
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Trembling or shivering
  • Increase in sweating

If you have hyperthyroidism, you should eat a balanced, calorie-rich diet.

Overall, if you suspect anything abnormal is going on with this gland, see a doctor to get tests done. The sooner you detect any problems, the better!

 

Principal image courtesy of wikiHow.com