For such a small part of our bodies, thyroids are responsible for a pretty major aspect of our health. The butterfly-shaped gland controls our metabolism, which most of us only think about when we're trying to lose weight. That is a factor, but it is also responsible for all the energy we need to just go about our daily lives. So it's important to make sure you’re not missing out on any signs it could be acting up.
Several different diseases can affect our thyroid, but they boil down to two main issues: hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. We get our energy from hormones that are produced by the gland, so when it creates too much (hyperthyroidism) or too little (hypothyroidism), that’s when things start to get troubling. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the symptoms for each of those ailments are broken down as:
- Muscle Weakness
- Infrequent and light menstruation
- Drastic weight loss
- Sleep disturbances
- Enlarged thyroid gland
- Vision Problems
- Heat sensitivity
- Frequent and heavy menstruation
- Drastic weight gain
- Dry skin and hair
- Hoarse voice
- Intolerance to cold
As you can see, the symptoms are basically polar opposites of each other and depend on how little or excessive the amount of hormones in our system become. Some of those symptoms might also seem a little vague and could have other causes behind them. But if you can check multiple things off either of those lists, you should probably schedule an appointment with your doctor.
There can be quite a few culprits behind a thyroid’s hormone imbalance. For instance, Grave's disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes the thyroid to enlarge, which then leads to hyperthyroidism. Excessive iodine in your system is another issue that can cause your thyroid to produce too many hormones. As for hypothyroidism, it’s typically caused by an inflamed (not enlarged) thyroid.
If you do discover you’re suffering from any of those problems, don’t panic. Your doctor should be able to help set things back on track with medication. Noticing the symptoms early on means a quicker recovery, so make sure to pay attention to any signals your body is giving you.
We all deserve to live our happiest, healthiest lives!