Know about the hypothyroid symptoms and how it can affect your body if you have this condition. Hypothyroidism is a lesser-known condition with various symptoms that affect your daily life. Read on and find out what to look out for so you can get the hypothyroidism treatment you may need before the condition worsens.
Hypothyroid Symptoms: Recognizing the Signs
What Is Hypothyroidism | Understanding A Common Thyroid Problem
What is hypothyroidism? According to research, more than 12 percent of the U.S. population will have a thyroid condition during the span of their lives, and up to 60 percent of these people are unaware of it. Looking at these numbers makes it critical to learn and understand what hypothyroidism is, from recognizing its symptoms to administering the right treatment.
There are various ailments that can affect our physical and mental health, but one of the most common very few people know about is hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland in your throat is underactive. This is a common gland disturbance that many fail to recognize because of its similarities to other conditions and obscurity. Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland isn’t creating enough hormones to keep the body operating normally.
Hypothyroid Symptoms to Take Note Of
Extreme tiredness and/or sleepiness, otherwise known as fatigue, is extremely common with hypothyroid patients and remains an “off and on” battle for so many. The reason fatigue is so common with hypothyroidism is because our body’s production of energy depends on a certain level of thyroid hormone. Due to the fact that hypothyroidism is the result of an underactive thyroid gland (which does not produce enough thyroid hormone), fatigue becomes a major symptom for those hypothyroid patients.
2. Muscle Aches and Weakness
It may not occur to a lot of people, but muscle pain is one of the early symptoms of thyroid dysfunction. Your thyroid treatment may not be optimal if your muscle aches all over without aggression from rigorous exercises.
Hypothyroidism can cause a variety of muscle and joint-related symptoms. More often than not, hypothyroidism results in fluid retention which in turn causes muscle swelling. Some symptoms include cramps, muscle stiffness, joint pain and tendonitis in your arms and legs. Carpal and tarsal tunnel syndrome and frozen shoulder are also hypothyroid symptoms.
3. Cold Intolerance
Cold intolerance can be a difficult experience for hypothyroid patients. If you have low thyroid function, you may find yourself with cold hands and feet, or shivering even in the warmest of weather. This is because your thyroid fails to produce enough hormones to regulate your body heat.
The thyroid gland acts as a thermostat for our body as it regulates body temperature. A person with hypothyroidism is prone to having low body temperatures and an intolerance to cold. It can be difficult to pinpoint cold intolerance, but a newly found intolerance to your normal environment is a good way to measure.
4. Unexplained Weight Gain
People with an underactive thyroid tends to produce a low basal metabolic rate. Weight gain is one of the most recognizable effects of hypothyroidism and having trouble losing weight even with healthy diet and exercise is another.
An underactive thyroid and stomach problems can contribute to your weight gain, but another great factor might be water retention caused by your hypothyroidism.Water retention is the excessive buildup of fluid in your circulatory system, body tissues, or cavities which add to your weight gain.
There is a certain connection between our thyroid and constipation. Although some of us don’t want to discuss their bowel movements, it can actually be a very important part of your overall health and an indication of just how well your thyroid is functioning. Constipation can be very troublesome especially for hypothyroid patients.
When lacking a sufficient amount of thyroid hormones, the action of the digestive tract slows down. Hypothyroidism weakens the contraction of the muscles in your small and large intestines causing stool to move exceedingly slower than normal.
While it may surprise some, the link between hypothyroidism and depression can be a very real and detrimental issue. Often viewed as a separate condition, depression can be associated with hypothyroidism. If a person has an underactive thyroid gland, he or she may have fatigue, trouble concentrating, or sleep excessively — all of which can cause depression.
7. Changes in the Menstrual Cycle
A lot of menstrual problems may be side effects of an undiagnosed thyroid condition. Longer menstrual periods along with a heavier flow and more painful cramps can be a sign that thyroid hormones are low in supply. An underactive thyroid gland can cause early menstruation and puberty in girls before they reach the age of 10.
8. Dry Skin and Hair Loss
Hypothyroidism can cause the following: dry, itchy skin, frizzy hair, an itchy or flaky scalp, cracked heels, loss of eyelashes, loss of eyebrows, pale or colorless skin, brittle nails, and chronic eczema. The skin signs of having inadequate thyroid hormones are similar, whether it is iodine deficiency, an autoimmune disorder, or hyperthyroidism.
9. Slow Heart Rate
Hypothyroidism and heart problems are closely linked because of the low levels of thyroid hormones in your body. To add to the long list of hypothyroid symptoms checklists, the effects of an underactive thyroid can range from hypothyroidism tachycardia to a slow hypothyroid heart rate. The physical toll hypothyroidism takes on your heart can be extreme and needs to be addressed accordingly.
Thyroid hormones influence the force and speed of our heartbeat, cholesterol level, and blood pressure. An underactive thyroid gland makes arteries less elastic, so blood pressure rises in order to circulate blood around the body.
10. Loss of Sex Drive
Symptoms of hypothyroidism can affect your sex life as well. Pain before, during, or after sex, decreased libido, as well as the inability to have an orgasm are all symptoms of an underactive thyroid.
Watch this video from Michael Doyle, MD and learn more about the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism:
Untreated hypothyroidism can lead to more devastating results. What’s tricky about this disorder is it can mimic other medical conditions, so it cannot be easily detected unless you go to a trusted physician for a check-up. It is one of those instances that the culprit hides behind the mask. But being aware of the hypothyroidism symptoms can turn the table and can help you defeat the disorder as early as possible.
Do you know other hypothyroidism symptoms? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Editor’s Note – This post was originally published on May 22, 2017 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
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