5 Signs You May Have a Thyroid Problem

5 Signs You May Have a Thyroid Problem

The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland in the neck that may contribute to a wide range of bodily functions from appetite to concentration level to general mood. Out of the 30 million Americans who suffer from thyroid problems, nearly half of them suffer without a diagnosis. Thyroid hormones have an extensive reach that spans the brain to the bowels, which often makes it difficult to reach a clear diagnosis. If you have one or more of the following symptoms, talk to your doctor about potential thyroid issues.

1. Extreme exhaustion

Experiencing fatigue and lack of energy, even after a full night's sleep, may stem from a wide variety of medical conditions, including hypothyroidism, in which the body produces an insufficient amount of thyroid hormone. When there isn't enough thyroid hormone moving through the bloodstream and cells, the muscles aren't properly triggered to get going. If you're really sleepy through the morning or even into the afternoon, an underactive thyroid may be to blame.

2. Depression

When the thyroid isn't producing adequate thyroid hormone, the brain's serotonin levels may be impacted. One of the thyroid's primary tasks is to serve as a neurotransmitter and keep serotonin levels regulated. If the thyroid can't maintain normal serotonin levels, other body systems start functioning below their normal levels, resulting in depression. Receiving a thyroid condition diagnosis will allow a doctor to start treating the issue with a thyroid replacement medication instead of relying on antidepressants.

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3. Anxiety

Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces excess thyroid hormone. Anxiety and general jitters are common symptoms of hyperthyroidism. When the brain is drowning in constant "all systems go" messages, the entire body ends up feeling like it has to go into overdrive. As a result, it's not uncommon to be much more anxious than to normal and even to have panic attacks. While it's important to treat the underlying thyroid issue, traditional anxiety treatment options may also help you manage your anxiety effectively.

4. Altered appetite or taste buds

An excess of thyroid hormone leaves many people feeling as though they're hungry all the time. The upside of this common hyperthyroidism symptom is that typically the disorder offsets the caloric impact so there is no weight gain. It's nice not to gain weight even when you're eating more than normal. However, burning an excess amount of fat or passing excess quantities of urine isn't healthy.

Individuals who suffer from hypothyroidism often smell and taste foods in a different way than they normally would. To make matters worse, certain thyroid medications also distort taste. The appearance of your tongue may indicate whether or not your altered taste buds stem from a thyroid issue. A healthy tongue is slightly pink, moist, and mostly smooth. If your tongue is dry, discolored, coated, or painful, you may suffer from hypothyroidism.

5. Forgetfulness or difficulty concentrating

There are a wide range of factors that may play a role in "fuzzy" brain such as aging or sleep deprivation. However, an ill-functioning thyroid may also be to blame. Hyperthyroidism causes concentration difficulty while hypothyroidism causes forgetfulness and general brain "fog." Many people are surprised how much more clearly they start thinking once they begin taking thyroid medication.Feeling more exhausted, moody, or anxious than normal may not seem like a big deal. It's easy to chalk up these symptoms to a bad day or even a bad week. However, when the signs persist for weeks on end, most likely there is a serious underlying issue. The sooner you schedule an appointment with your physician, the sooner you'll start receiving treatment.