The thyroid plays an important role in the body and if it isn’t functioning properly, you may experience any of these thyroid symptoms.
In this article:
- Enlarged Thyroid Gland
- Unexplained Weight Gain and Loss
- Always Feeling Down
- Regular Fatigue
- High Blood Pressure
- Unexplained Anxiousness and Jittery
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Change in Sense of Taste and Appetite
- Slower Brain Activity
- Irregular Sleeping Patterns
- Decrease in Libido
- High Cholesterol Levels
- Dry Skin
- Sensitive Extremities or Muscles
- Unpredictable Bowel Movement
- Irregular Heartbeats
- Hot and Cold Body Temperatures
- Hoarse Voice and Pain in the Neck
- Change in Period
- Losing or Thinning Hair
- Difficulty Conceiving
21 Thyroid Symptoms to Watch Out for
1. Enlarged Thyroid Gland
Swelling near the Adam’s apple may indicate a condition called a goiter. This happens when the thyroid gland is in constant stimulation to release the hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).
It’s not usually painful but the swelling can get so big that it’s impossible to ignore. It may also cause some difficulty when breathing or swallowing.
Thyroxine Definition: T4 is an inactive form of the thyroid hormone and is what the thyroid gland mainly produces. It enters the bloodstream and is converted into T3 as it passes through the kidneys and liver.
Triiodothyronine Definition: T3 thyroid hormone helps regulate the body’s metabolism, heart rate, digestive functions, brain development and function, muscle control, and bone maintenance.
2. Unexplained Weight Gain and Loss
Sudden weight gain may be an immediate sign of a health condition. It may be a symptom of a thyroid disorder that’s slowing down the metabolism.
Weight gain is a common symptom for hypothyroidism while unexplained weight loss is a possible sign of hyperthyroidism. With an overactive thyroid, the metabolism is increased and using up stored energy even without physical activity.
Hyperthyroidism Definition: a condition wherein the thyroid gland is overactive or producing too many thyroid hormones
Hypothyroidism Definition: a condition wherein the thyroid is underactive or not producing enough thyroid hormones
3. Always Feeling Down
Depression or mood swings are common symptoms of hypothyroidism. The underproduction of thyroid hormones causes the levels of serotonin in the brain to lower which results in feeling down.
Serotonin Definition: a chemical in the blood produced by the nerve cells to send signals to the brain, stomach, and intestines to regulate moods, bowel movements, sleeping patterns, libido, bone development, and blood clotting
4. Regular Fatigue
Another common symptom of hypothyroidism is fatigue.
When there aren’t enough thyroid hormones in the body, the cells and your muscles do not get the active signal to move about. Despite having a full night’s sleep, you may not have enough energy to do anything during the day, or your body feels fatigued despite not doing anything.
This may be a symptom of depression as well but if the thyroid hormone levels in the body are too low, then it’s better to address the thyroid condition first before taking anti-depression medication.
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5. High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is one of the most common thyroid symptoms, and it can be caused by either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Both high and low levels of thyroid hormones can affect the heartbeat, blood vessel walls’ flexibility, and blood flow.
6. Unexplained Anxiousness and Jittery
When the thyroid is producing too much thyroid hormones, it can make you feel anxious or “wired” all the time. The thyroid hormones flood your system with hormones similar to adrenaline and can make your brain go overdrive.
This thyroid condition can make it impossible for you to feel calm and relaxed in any situation.
Adrenaline Definition: a hormone produced by the adrenal glands when the body is stressed, in continuous physical activity, and when there is an increase in blood flow and breathing
7. Type 1 Diabetes
Both type 1 diabetes and thyroid disorders are autoimmune conditions. Anyone diagnosed with type 1 diabetes has a high chance of developing a thyroid condition.
Autoimmune Condition Definition: This is a condition wherein the immune system attacks its own organs and glands because it detects them as “foreign.” In diabetes, the immune system attacks the pancreas while in thyroid conditions, it attacks the thyroid gland.
8. Change in Sense of Taste and Appetite
A sudden change in appetite may also be caused by a thyroid condition. Having hyperthyroidism can make patients feel hungry almost all of the time while hypothyroidism can decrease appetite.
Hypothyroidism can also affect the sense of taste and smell. If you’re experiencing any of these changes, consult with a doctor right away.
9. Slower Brain Activity
A thyroid condition can also affect the way the brain works. Not enough thyroid hormones in the body can slow down brain activity while high amounts can hinder the ability to focus.
It can also result in memory loss, brain fog, and feelings of sluggishness even after a good night’s sleep.
10. Irregular Sleeping Patterns
Some of the symptoms mentioned above like fatigue, slow brain activity, and weight gain can also be caused by sleep deprivation. But having difficulty sleeping can also be caused by hyperthyroidism.
The overactive thyroid pumps the body with too much serotonin and increases pulse which makes the brain unable to relax.
On the other hand, an underactive thyroid can also make one want to sleep all the time. Similar feelings of fatigue can induce sleep during the day despite having a full night’s sleep the night before.
11. Decrease in Libido
A decrease in your libido can also be a symptom of hypothyroidism. The lack of stimulating hormones due to an underactive thyroid affects the frequency of your sexual mood.
Other symptoms of thyroid conditions such as low energy levels, body aches, and weight gain can also affect your libido.
12. High Cholesterol Levels
For patients who are taking medication or on a diet to regulate their cholesterol levels but it doesn’t seem to be working, they may have a thyroid condition.
Hypothyroidism can elevate the levels of bad cholesterol in the body. If this condition isn’t treated, it can develop into serious heart problems such as heart failure and an enlarged heart.
13. Dry Skin
Hypothyroidism can cause the skin to be dry and itchy despite using moisturizers. This change in the skin’s appearance and texture is often caused by a slowed metabolism because of low thyroid hormone levels in the body.
A slow metabolism reduces the amount of sweating in the body which can dehydrate the skin. Brittle nails and the development of ridges can also be caused by a slowed metabolism.
14. Sensitive Extremities or Muscles
Hypothyroidism can cause some of the muscles and extremities to be more sensitive. A light bump of the toe could inflict more pain than it should.
It can also cause some mild pain even without an impact because the low levels of thyroid hormones in the body can damage the nerves responsible for sending signals to the brain. This damage causes unexplained tingles.
15. Unpredictable Bowel Movement
A decrease in hormone production affects the speed of the digestive process. Hypothyroidism can also cause irregular bowel movements like constant constipation.
On the other hand, an overactive thyroid can cause irregularly frequent bowel movements or diarrhea.
16. Irregular Heartbeats
Random fluttery feelings in the chest, maybe mild heart palpitations caused by hyperthyroidism. These heart palpitations are similar to the heart beating too quickly, too hard, or skipping beats.
These can also be detected by feeling the pulse points along the neck or throat. These irregular heartbeats are caused by the increase in thyroid hormone levels in the body.
17. Hot and Cold Body Temperatures
Hypothyroidism can slow down the bodily system and cause patients to feel cold or have chills even during warm weather. Not enough thyroid hormones in the body cause the cells to not burn enough energy which also decreases the body’s own heat.
But if the body is always warm or sweating too much, hyperthyroidism may be causing the cells to burn too much energy which is heating up the body.
18. Hoarse Voice and Pain in the Neck
A hoarse voice is another thyroid symptom that’s mostly affected by a goiter. This sudden voice change is caused by the enlarged thyroid gland pressing against the windpipe.
The enlarged thyroid can also cause uncomfortable feelings around the bottom of the neck.
19. Change in Period
For patients too young to have menopause, a sudden decrease in the length and flow of their period could be caused by hyperthyroidism. Some doctors may also check you for anemia.
On the other hand, longer menstrual periods, stronger cramps, and a heavier flow can be caused by an underactive thyroid.
20. Losing or Thinning Hair
Hypothyroidism can cause hair to fall out, break easily, turn brittle, or go dry. Not enough thyroid hormones in the body cause an imbalance in the hair growth cycle which induces the hair follicles into a “resting” state.
On the same note, hyperthyroidism can cause thinning of the hair on the head and eyebrows.
21. Difficulty Conceiving
Both an overactive and underactive thyroid can interfere with any attempts of conception. They can both impair fertility and ovulation.
It’s best to address any thyroid conditions before continuing any attempts of conception because these thyroid conditions can also cause pregnancy complications.
Check out the video below by Abihail Abihu as plastic surgeon Dr. Drew Ordon and E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork demonstrate how to perform a self-test on your thyroid:
It is important for adults to consume a healthy mix of daily vitamins. We recommend this Vitamin D3 supplement.
If you’re experiencing any of these thyroid symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor right away to start managing this condition as soon as you can. Some of these symptoms can indicate other health problems but a quick test from your doctor to rule out thyroid conditions will better optimize any medical care in the future.
Do you have more questions about thyroid symptoms and this condition? Mention them in the comments section below!
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