12 Subtle signs of Hypothyroidism that you should be aware of
Your thyroid gland produces various hormones which play a crucial role in different systems throughout your body. When your thyroid gland makes either too much or too little of these hormones, it is indicative of thyroid disorder
What is thyroid?
Thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped small organ situated in the front of the neck, smaller in the middle and two wide wings extending around the sides of your throat.
It controls your body's metabolism with few specific hormones- T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (Triiodothyronines). When this thyroid gland doesn’t work properly, it has a great impact on your body.
If your body develop too much of thyroid, you suffer from hyperthyroidism and on the other hand, if your body develops too little of thyroid, you get hypothyroidism.
Women are almost eight times more likely to develop thyroid disorder compared to men
What are the common signs and symptoms of Hypothyroidism?
Due to the similarity of symptoms of thyroid disorder and other medical conditions, diagnosis of thyroid disorder is really puzzling. Symptoms of underactive thyroid, so called hypothyroidism includes-
One of the most common symptom of hypothyroid is feeling worn out. This is because of energy balance controlled by thyroid hormone which in turn influences whether you are ready to work or ready to sleep.
People with low thyroid hormone are mostly found to be sluggish, exhausted and display reduced activity(Database from the National institutes of Health). Hence, feeling sleepier than usual without a good explanation could be indicative of Hypothyroidism
2. Feeling Depressed
Feeling depressed or low? It is a good reason to talk to your Physician on Therapist. They may be able to find if it is due to thyroid problems or something else.
Journal of Thyroid Research (volume 2012, Article ID 590648) depicts the direct link between low thyroid levels and depression. Anxiety and Depression are shown to reduce with Thyroid hormone replacement
3. Irregular menstruation
Thyroid hormone interacts with other hormones that control menstrual cycle, and abnormal range of thyroid can disturb their signals. This hormone directly has effect on ovaries and uterus
4. Dry hair and hair loss
Not to forget in hypothyroidism, if you experience unexpected changes in the speed and pattern of hair loss, specially if your hair loss is patchy or texture is rough. Low thyroid hormone causes hair follicles to stop regenerating, eventually causing hair loss.
5. Weight gain
Are you observing increase in the numbers on your weighing scale. If yes, you can go for a thyroid check. Hypothyroidism decreases your Basal metabolic rate instead of burning calories for growth and activities. Hence, your body stores more calories from diet as fats.
6. Slow Heart rate
People with Hypothyroidism may experience Bradycardia (slow heart rate) by causing changes in BP, variations in heart rhythms or reducing the elasticity of arteries.
7. High cholesterol
Thyroid hormones helps remove excess cholesterol from the body via the liver. Lower thyroid hormones indicate that the liver has to struggle to remove cholesterol from the body further raising cholesterol levels. Doctors routinely test people with high cholesterol for hypothyroidism.
A goitre is an enlargement of thyroid gland that present as a swelling on the base of the neck. Other symptoms of goitre include-
*Swallowing and breathing problems
9. Feeling cold
If you always wanted the room warmer than other people, then this may be just the way you are built. But if you have noticed yourself feeling colder than normal lately, it could be a sign of hypothyroidism.
When your Basal metabolic rate is low, there is a cut back on the amount of heat you generate.
10. Muscle pain and weakness
Low levels of thyroid hormone flips the metabolic switch towards catabolism. Here, the body breaks down the body tissues and muscles for energy. This leads to aching muscles.
A healthy person feels weak once a while, but a hypothyroid affected person is twice as likely to feel more weak than usual.
Many people with constipation do not have hypothyroidism. But if it is accompanied by other symptoms of hypothyroid, your Thyroid may be the spawn.
Low levels of thyroid put brakes on your colon further resulting in constipation
12. Dry and itchy skin
When in hypothyroidism, skin cells do not receive enough growth signals from thyroid hormone.
When this normal skin renewal cycle is broken, skin growth takes a long time. In turn, the dead skin too takes longer to shed off, culminating in dry and flaky skin
The Bottom line-
If you are having several of these symptoms or they have just started appearing, acute or chronic, it is advisable to see your doctor to decide if you need to get your blood sample checked for thyroid.
All thanks to the improved research and technologies, hypothyroidism can be treated with inexpensive medications. If your thyroid levels are low or borderline, a simple medication cam improve your quality of life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sneha Jain, Dietician
Sneha is a Post graduate with specialization in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a university topper and holds 5+ years of experience in Apollo hospitals, VLCC, slimsutra and first cry fit-kids . She has successfully counselled clients all over India for weight loss, weight gain, diabetes, hypertension, PCOD, hypothyroid, Pregnancy and lactation and growth charts for children. She has her own diet consultation e-clinic (diet_diariez)
She believes in customized diets and eating local and seasonal foods. Her counselling not only involves diet planning, but also lifestyle modification and stress relief strategies.