Over 12% of Americans have a faulty thyroid gland, but most of them miss it because the symptoms are overlooked
Every human body needs a lot of respect and care. But for women, the need to care for our bodies gets dialed up a notch higher. Each and every organ in our body carries out a specific set of functions, but it leads to a myriad of health issues when any of them stop functioning normally. For example, the thyroid gland is a small organ, aka a gland, which releases hormones that help control many vital functions of the body, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
When the thyroid gland doesn't function properly, it impacts the entire body. If your body produces too much thyroid hormone, you could develop a condition called hyperthyroidism. If your body makes too little thyroid hormone, it’s called hypothyroidism. Statistics by Penn Medicine show that over 12% of Americans have a faulty thyroid gland, but most of them miss it because the symptoms are overlooked.
“The thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck, produces an important hormone called thyroid hormone (TH). TH plays a major role in how our bodies function, and an imbalance in this hormone can impact your energy level, weight, metabolism, heart rate, bowels, mood, cholesterol levels, bones, women’s menstrual cycles, and more,” explains Ben Cooperberg, MD, a physician at Penn Endocrinology Washington Square.
Here are 6 symptoms that suggest your thyroid gland isn't working as it should:
If you suddenly feel like you've gained or lost a significant amount of weight, then it could be because of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
When your body produces too much of the hormone, your metabolism increases, causing you to lose weight rapidly. Meanwhile, your metabolism decreases when your body doesn't produce enough thyroxine, thus making you gain weight.
Apart from weight, there could be several other changes your body can undergo. You may notice weaker or more brittle hair, dry, red, itchy, or irritated skin, swelling in your joints, a puffy face, or swelling at the base of your neck. The base of your neck also tends to change color and become darker. While the first couple of signs may be mistaken for something else, if you notice one or more such symptoms together, it is recommended to have your thyroid checked immediately.
This condition can mess with your body's cycles, making it hard for you to fall asleep at night, which in turn, makes you feel tired during the day. Also, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism will make your muscles weak, causing you to feel weak and work out at all times.
The condition doesn't just affect you physically, it takes a toll on your mental health as well. Simply put, hyperthyroidism may cause you to feel anxious, nervous, and irritable whereas hypothyroidism can cause depression.
Hyperthyroidism can cause sensitivity to heat and excessive sweating, whereas a person suffering from hypothyroidism will really struggle to keep themselves warm. When the thyroid is working properly, its cells will produce 65% energy and 35% heat. But when it isn't and too much or too little hormones are produced, it confuses the body, thus causing discomfort to the person.
You're not pregnant, but you've missed your period? This is because thyroid issues are known to affect a woman's fertility, which in turn, messes up their menstrual cycle. Too little thyroxine makes it difficult for your body to release eggs for ovulation and too much thyroxine causes women to miss their period and experience postpartum thyroiditis.
Catching thyroid disorder early on can help in maintaining your overall health. If you've experienced any one of these symptoms or have noticed a change in appearance to your thyroid, it might be a good idea to head over to your doctor and get the necessary tests done.
Cover Image Source (Representative): Getty Images | PORNCHAI SODADisclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.