Thyroid Conditions: Is Everything Working 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 thyroid may not be working well?  Today, we’ll give you some things to check to see if there’s a problem. Find out some of the most common symptoms and conditions related to your thyroid health here.

As you know, your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck, in front of your trachea. Firstly, it plays a key role in your body. It’s in charge of producing the thyroxine and triiodothyronine hormones, as well as regulating your metabolism and other organs.

What is more, the reason it’s so important is that every cell of your body depends on thyroid hormones to grow and develop. Therefore, the organ influences all of the following:

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

It’s important to note that your thyroid uses iodine to function. Thus, 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. In addition, as you may know, you can get iodine from foods such as dairy, fruits and vegetables, garlic, beans, and kelp.

In addition, don’t forget to read: 7 Iodine Packed Beverages to Improve Thyroid Function

Common symptoms of thyroid issues

doctor checking thyroid

Firstly, it’s important to note that, unfortunately, there is no one specific symptom that indicates poor thyroid function in its early stages. However, lab tests are the most reliable indicator to pinpoint that something is wrong.

Besides this, you should know that thyroid anomalies have common symptoms that are easy to mix up with other conditions like:

  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Dementia

In addition, your thyroid may increase in size and change shape. In this case, we call it “goitres,” and what you see is a small mass in your neck. Unfortunately, keep in mind that thyroid issues are usually asymptomatic. However, one of the first signs of a thyroid condition can be having a hard time swallowing or breathing, or changes in your voice.

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

Also, check out this article: Fight Hypothyroidism with Foods that Speed Up Your Metabolism

Symptoms of hypothyroidism

woman feeling her thyroid

Hypothyroidism is up to four times more common than hyperthyroidism. It means that your thyroid produces fewer hormones than it should. Thus, this lack of hormones can lead to your body not working properly.

In addition, some symptoms of hypothyroidism are:

  • Fatigue
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Loss of appetite and 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. Focus especially on those rich in fiber and low in fat. Also, you should increase daily physical activity, to maintain a healthy weight and feel better.

Signs of hyperthyroidism

thyroid gland anomalies

Next, hyperthyroidism is another condition of the thyroid gland. Unlike hypothyroidism, in this case, your body produces more hormones than it needs. Thus, it speeds up your metabolism. Although this might seem like a “good” thing at first, this comes with certain complications, like:

  • Increase in heart rate 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. Also, it’s important to get help from a doctor to manage the symptoms of this condition.

Overall, if you suspect something is going on with this gland, see a doctor to get tests done. The sooner you detect any problems, the better. Also, don’t forget that a nutritionist can help you handle any of these problems.

  • N. Brandan; I. Llanos; A. Rodríguez. (2010). Hormonas Tiroideas. Universidad Nacional Del Nordeste. https://doi.org/10.1089/thy.2007.0257
  • Toribio, R. E., & Duckett, W. Μ. (2004). Glándula tiroides. Medicina Interna Equina, Vol. 2.
  • Hernández, F. (2015). Fisiología De Las Glándulas Tiroides Y Paratiroides. Libro Virtual de Formación En ORL.