Thyroid Got You Down?
How to know if your thyroid is out of whack and what to do about it.
Is your thyroid out of whack?
It is natural for us to struggle with feeling depressed, fatigued, and have weight fluctuations at times. However, when these issues become chronic or when symptoms start to affect our quality of life or ability to fully function, it’s time to find out what the root cause may be. Although many chronic conditions can lead to depression and fatigue, thyroid disorders and disease should be on the radar.
Thyroid disorders and thyroid disease can have a negative impact on just about every area of your life. From weight issues to depression and/or anxiety, the thyroid gland is vital to keeping your physical, mental, and emotional life in balance.
The most common symptoms of hypothyroidism are:
- Persistent fatigue, lethargy, and sometimes depression or low motivation to exercise
- Moodiness and sometimes anxiety
- Intolerance to cold and frequently feeling chilly
- Dry hair and skin — skin might feel cool to the touch and the toes/fingers might look a blue/purple color in some cases
- Brain fog, trouble concentrating and forgetfulness
- A horse voice
- Unexplainable weight gain
- Constipation, bloating and other digestive issues
- Muscle weakness, sometimes aches or pains, and other discomforts
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism commonly include:
- Nervousness or symptoms of anxiety
- Insomnia and sleep troubles
- Racing heart
- Eyes that appear large and sometimes bulge
- Unexplained weight loss
- High amounts of perspiration
- Muscle weakness
- Multiple bowel movements
- Thin, brittle hair
If you are struggling with these symptoms on a regular basis, it’s time to get your thyroid function evaluated. Almost 25 million Americans are living with thyroid disease, with 50% of those unaware they have it. And most of these sufferers are women.
What is the thyroid? The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that is found in the front, centermost part of the neck. The thyroid serves as the thermostat of the body and regulates temperature, energy, and metabolism. It is also responsible for controlling everything from menstrual cycles to mood. Poor thyroid function is divided into three types (with overlap): hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and autoimmune thyroid diseases.
How do you know if you have a thyroid issue? As mentioned earlier, there are a wide range of symptoms that will provide clues if your thyroid is over- or under-functioning.
Your thyroid might be to blame with regard to your weight struggles. It can be the culprit if you have tried exercise and diet without success. On the other hand, losing substantial amounts of weight when you’re not trying to may be a potential sign of an overactive thyroid.
If you have a thyroid issue, you often have energy issues. When your thyroid is functioning poorly, you may also experience more fatigue than usual. Low energy is a common symptom of a poorly functioning thyroid. If you have an overactive thyroid, you may feel more agitated than usual. It’s important to note that you can still have fatigue with an overactive thyroid.
Your thyroid can have a significant effect on your sleep. With a low functioning thyroid, you may feel like you sleep way more than the usual but still wake up feeling unrested. It may also feel like you have disrupted or poor sleep. If, on the other hand, you feel like you are very active and need little sleep, this can be a sign of a hyperactive thyroid. You can have insomnia with both hyper- and hypoactive thyroid.
With both hyper- and hypoactive thyroid, you may feel moody for no apparent reason. You may also feel down or depressed. If you feel angry, irritable, or more worked up than usual, it might mean that your thyroid is not functioning properly.
Low or High Appetite
If you have a low functioning thyroid, you may experience an increase in your appetite. This is because your dialed-down metabolism is signaling your brain that you do not have enough energy. Low thyroid function will lead you to crave more carbs and sugar for energy in an attempt to overcome fatigue. Alternatively, with a hyperactive thyroid, your appetite may be suppressed.
What to do about it
If you are experiencing the symptoms listed above, it may benefit you to visit your doctor for a full thyroid panel. Thyroid irregularity can be treated, and many people are able to function well once the root cause has been managed properly. If you suspect that your thyroid is out of whack, or you’re already being treated for thyroid dysfunction, yet you still have symptoms, download my free Thyroid Recovery Guide for seven topics which may be helpful to bring up at your next appointment with your doctor or other licensed healthcare provider.