Thyroid conditions are not uncommon — about 1% of women experience hyperthyroidism and nearly 10% of women experience hypothyroidism — and can often go undetected until more serious complications arise. To avoid these complications, look for the signs and symptoms thyroid conditions so you can seek early treatment. If you experience some or all of the following symptoms, talk with a member of our team at Evia Medical Center to schedule a thyroid screening.
1. Unexpected weight gain or weight loss
The thyroid gland helps control your metabolism, so when your thyroid malfunctions, you are likely to gain weight or lose weight. Weight gain, generally around 5-10 pounds, is associated with an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), and weight loss of the same or more is associated with an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).
Many people may notice rapid weight gain as a negative thing and talk to their doctor about it. But rapid weight loss may go unnoticed or be thought of as a positive thing. Weigh yourself regularly and discuss any abnormal fluctuations in weight with a member of our Evia Medical Center team, especially if the weight fluctuations are accompanied by other symptoms of thyroid conditions.
2. Changes in your energy levels or mood
The thyroid gland controls hormones in your body that are associated with energy and mood. If you have hyperthyroidism, you may experience anxiety, restlessness, and difficulty sleeping. But if you have hypothyroidism, you may experience depression, difficulty concentrating, and moderate to extreme fatigue.
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Your energy and mood levels may be affected differently based on how serious your condition is and whether the onset was sudden or gradual. Gradual onset is more common, and it may be difficult to notice the subtle shifts in your energy levels or mood over a long period of time. You may want to keep a journal or use a smartphone app to record your daily mood to help you notice changes.
3. Hair loss, dry skin, or brittle nails
After prolonged, severe thyroid problems, you may notice hair loss, dry flaky skin, and brittle nails. Usually hair loss occurs all over your head, as well as along your eyebrows, and may be partial or complete, depending on the severity of your thyroid condition.
If you have dry skin, it is likely to be itchy, and you may notice a decrease in the amount you sweat. Brittle nails usually have jagged cuticles and white lines along the edges of the nails.
These physical signs are easier to notice than many of the other symptoms of thyroid conditions, but they tend to occur in more severe or prolonged cases. Talk to one of our team members as soon as possible if you notice these symptoms.
4. Sensitivity to temperature
Because the thyroid controls your metabolism, you are likely to experience a change in your core body temperature when it malfunctions. If you find yourself regularly reaching for a sweater or turning up the thermostat when you didn’t before, you may suffer from hypothyroidism. Alternatively, if you are constantly warmer than your family and colleagues, even in cool weather, you may have hyperthyroidism.
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Many things can affect your sensitivity to temperature, such illness, your period, or lack of sleep. But a consistent change in your overall temperature is something you should mention to one of our team members.
5. Muscle aches, tenderness, stiffness, or weakness
Pain or difficulty climbing stairs, rising from a chair or bed, lifting your hands over your head, or gripping objects can be the result of thyroid conditions. Anytime you suffer muscle aches, stiffness, or weakness, you should contact a doctor. If these symptoms occur with any of the above symptoms, you should ask for a thyroid test.
While thyroid conditions can have unpleasant symptoms, the good news is that they are easy to test for and can be treated. Be aware of the common symptoms in order to catch a thyroid problem before it becomes severe. If you are worried about a thyroid condition, talk to one of our experts at the Evia Medical Center about tests and treatments.