Thyroid disease can affect almost every aspect of health. Understanding more about the thyroid, and the symptoms that occur when something goes wrong with this small gland, can help you protect or regain good health.
Your thyroid is a small gland in your neck, wrapped around the windpipe. The thyroid produces several hormones. The brain releases something called Thyrotropin-releasing Hormone (TRH). The release of TRH tells the pituitary gland to release something called Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). This TSH, circulating in your bloodstream, is what tells the thyroid to make thyroid hormones and release them into your bloodstream.
Most people with thyroid disease end up hypothyroid; the situation where the thyroid is either under-active, totally unable to function, or has been surgically removed. The most common cause of hypothyroidism is an auto-immune condition in which antibodies begin to attack the thyroid and gradually make it inactive. The symptoms of hypothyroidism depend on, your age, your general level of health, and how hypothyroidism affects you personally. You may have some or all of the following symptoms. If so, perhaps it is a good idea to see your doctor about a thyroid test.
- You feel tired, exhausted, you can’t get enough sleep, or want to take daytime naps.
- You feel unusually depressed or down.
- You feel cold in hands and feet.
- You’ve gained weight or you are finding it difficult to lose weight, despite proper diet and exercise.
- You’re losing hair, particularly from the outer part of your eyebrow, or your hair is getting dry.
- Your nails are breaking and become brittle.
- You have muscle and joint pains and aches.
- You’ve been diagnosed as having chronic fatigue syndrome.
- You have swelling and puffiness in the eyes, face, arms or legs.
- You have a low sex drive.
- You have heart palpitations.
- You’re suffering from unexplained infertility, or have had recurrent miscarriages with no obvious explanation.
- You have a heavier than normal menstrual period, or your period is longer than it used to be, or comes more frequently.
- You’re going through menopause, and are having troublesome symptoms.
- You have worsening allergies, itching, prickly hot skin, rashes, hives, chronic yeast infections, oral fungus or thrush, or stomach and abdominal bloating.
- You have anaemia, or an excess of iron.
- You find it difficult to concentrate, your memory is not as good as it should be, you feel like your thinking is “slow”.
- You are constipated, sometimes severely so.
- You have a feeling of fullness, or an obvious swelling in your neck area.