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Signs and Symptoms of Thyroid Problems

Updated: May 8

Is fatigue a constant companion? Do you struggle with brain fog, weight changes, or unexplained anxiety? These could be the signs and symptoms of thyroid problems. Your thyroid gland, a small but mighty organ, plays a big role in regulating your body and mind, but sometimes it can go off track, especially in women, after trauma or even general anesthetics used in surgery.


Thyroid disorders are more common than you might think. The American Thyroid Association estimates that 20 million Americans have thyroid imbalances, with many going undiagnosed. Shockingly, 1 in 8 women will develop a thyroid disorder during their lifetime.


Understanding thyroid problems is crucial for finding the right treatment. Whether it's hypo- or hyperthyroidism, recognizing the symptoms of a thyroid problem and getting a proper diagnosis is key to managing your health effectively. In this blog, we will discuss what are the symptoms of thyroid dysfunction.


What Is the Thyroid Gland?


Signs and Symptoms of Thyroid Problems

The thyroid gland, shaped like a butterfly, sits at the front of your neck. It's responsible for producing hormones that regulate your metabolism, which is how your body uses energy. When the thyroid isn't functioning properly, it can either slow down or speed up metabolism by affecting hormone production. This imbalance can lead to various symptoms depending on whether hormone levels are too low or too high.


What does the thyroid do?


  1. Iodine Conversion: It takes iodine from food and turns it into thyroid hormones known as T3 and T4.

  2. Metabolism Regulation: These hormones are crucial for regulating metabolism, which is the process of converting oxygen and calories into energy that fuels every cell in the body.

  3. Hormonal Communication: The thyroid receives signals from two other glands, the pituitary and the hypothalamus. They use hormones called TSH and TRH to communicate with the thyroid, adjusting the release of T3 and T4 based on the body's needs. This continuous communication ensures that the body's metabolism stays balanced and functioning optimally.

Understanding sign and symptoms of thyroid problem


Understanding sign and symptoms of thyroid problem

Weight Fluctuations:


Experiencing sudden weight changes can often point to signs of thyroid issues. When your thyroid doesn't produce enough hormones, it can lead to weight gain, termed hypothyroidism. Conversely, if it overproduces hormones, you might experience weight loss and other symptoms known as hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism tends to be more prevalent among individuals.


Neck Swelling: 


Experiencing swelling or enlargement in the neck could be a sign of thyroid issues. This visible swelling, known as a goiter, can be linked to both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. In some cases, neck swelling may indicate thyroid cancer or nodules—growths within the thyroid gland. However, it's essential to note that neck swelling can also stem from causes unrelated to thyroid problems. If you notice this symptom, it's crucial to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and diagnosis.


Heart Rate: 


The thyroid hormones have a significant impact on various organs, including the heart rate. For individuals with hypothyroidism, the heart rate tends to be slower than normal. Conversely, hyperthyroidism can lead to an accelerated heart rate, along with elevated blood pressure and sensations like a pounding heart or palpitations. These changes highlight the intricate connection between thyroid function and cardiovascular health.


Energy and Mood Changes:


Thyroid issues can significantly affect your energy and mood. If you have hypothyroidism, you might feel tired, sluggish, and down. On the other hand, hyperthyroidism can lead to anxiety, sleep disturbances, restlessness, and irritability. These changes are common signs and symptoms of thyroid problems and can greatly impact your daily life and well-being.


Hair Loss:


Hair loss could be one of the signs for thyroid problems. Whether it's hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, both conditions can lead to hair shedding. The good news is that once the thyroid disorder is properly treated, hair typically regrows.


Fluctuations in Body Temperature as signs of thyroid issues:


Thyroid issues can affect how your body handles temperature. If you have hypothyroidism, you might feel colder than normal. On the other hand, hyperthyroidism can make you sweat a lot and feel uncomfortable in heat.


Other Symptoms of Hypothyroidism


Hypothyroidism can cause many other symptoms, including:


  • Dry skin and brittle nails

  • Numbness or tingling in the hands

  • Constipation

  • Abnormal menstrual periods

  • Frequent miscarriages

  • Slow Tendon reflex

  • Achilles Tendinopathy

  • Cervical neck vertebrae symptoms

The exact cause of hypothyroidism can be challenging to determine, but the most common factors include:


  • Autoimmune disease

  • Congenital hypothyroidism (present at birth)

  • Damage to the pituitary gland

  • Inflammation of the thyroid (thyroiditis)

  • Medications that affect thyroid hormone production

  • Radiation treatment

  • Rare disorders affecting thyroid function

  • Surgical removal of the thyroid

  • Imbalances in dietary iodine (too much or too little)

Other Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism


Hyperthyroidism can also cause additional symptoms, such as:


  • Muscle weakness or trembling hands

  • Vision problems

  • Diarrhea

  • Irregular menstrual periods

Some causes of hyperthyroidism include:


  • Graves' disease (causes excessive thyroid hormone secretion)

  • Thyroid nodules (one or more in the thyroid)

  • Viral infection impacting thyroid function

  • Overmedication with thyroid hormone

  • Family history of thyroid disorders or autoimmune diseases like Graves' disease, Hashimoto's disease, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis increases risk.


Understanding Thyroid Testing: 


Dr. Collins is very excited to work with you on balancing your Thyroid function. He goes beyond TSH screening and requests blood tests that show the complete picture of your Thyroid function. Follow up blood tests will be necessary to customize your protocol and get you the relief you deserve fast.


Additionally, when indicated, Dr. Collins will refer you for ultrasounds and or imaging scans which can assess the size of the thyroid gland and detect nodules. Radioactive nuclear imaging can reveal hot or cold spots in the glands, indicating increased or decreased activity levels.


It's important to note that the acceptable TSH levels, known as "reference ranges," can vary between different laboratories. Currently, the standard reference range for TSH levels in the U.S. is typically between 0.4 to 4.5. However, TSH tests are preliminary screenings, and further testing may be necessary for a conclusive diagnosis.


Often when appropriately treated and verified with specific blood tests, patients feel well but their TSH level will be driven downward.  Dr. Collins works very closely with his patients until they get a protocol that relieves symptoms and gives them back a quality of life.


Don't delay getting diagnosed


If you're experiencing thyroid disease signs and symptoms, book an appointment with Proactive Choice (858) 333-5196 today to get the right tests ordered. You can schedule a complimentary ten minute chat with Dr. Collins to see if Thyroid testing and treatment would be appropriate.

The treatment will vary based on your specific thyroid condition. The great news is that you can start feeling better soon after starting treatment.


Want to consult a holistic medical practitioner in Oregon? Please take a look at the links below.


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About The Author: Dr. Collins

Author: Dr. Collins

Dr. Collins is a Pacific Northwest native and University of Oregon graduate in biology and comparative religions, practicing Naturopathic Medicine. Committed to harmonizing ancient traditions with modern science, he prioritizes holistic patient care in Oregon.



 

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