Approximately 27 million Americans are said to be living with a thyroid problem. Although this disease can be rather difficult to detect as the symptoms are often subtle and can be simply mistaken as manifestations of other health issues, it is important to note that thyroid conditions are actually very treatable especially when there’s early diagnosis.
What You Need to Understand About the Thyroid Gland
One of the many endocrine glands in the human body is the thyroid gland. It is that butterfly-shaped gland in our neck (located just below our voice box) which plays a very important role in the growth, metabolism, and maturation of the human body. There are several health conditions that result in thyroid malfunction; two of which are (1) hypothyroidism, and (2) hyperthyroidism. While the former occurs when the thyroid gland becomes underactive and isn’t able to produce enough hormones for the body to use, the latter, on the other hand is its exact opposite. Hyperthyroidism is indicative of over-activity and excessive production of hormones. Either way, the effect is a sort of hormonal imbalance that would cause for the patient’s body to act up usually due to the cause of the thyroid condition itself, severity, and the length of time the body has been deprived of the acceptable levels of hormones.
Hypothyroidism Signs to Look Out For
- Fatigue. Despite with proper rest (i.e. 8 to 10 hours of sleep), you still feel weak, run down, and exhausted.
- Weight Gain. Indicative of sudden weight gain (going beyond a few pounds), difficulty losing weight, puffy face, and even increased fluid retention.
- Mood Swings. Includes anxiety, feelings of depression, and sudden lack of interest in activities previously enjoyed.
- Abnormal menstrual cycles. Includes irregular and/or heavier menstrual periods, PMS, infertility and/or miscarriage issues, and decreased libido
- Muscle Pain. Frequent muscle cramps and recurring muscle aches.
- Cold Intolerance. Difficulty tolerating cold temperatures especially in extremities (i.e. fingers and toes); having a body temperature consistently below 98.5 °F.
- Constipation. Despite adequate fiber intake.
- Mind Issues. Includes brain fog, forgetfulness/poor memory, and difficulty concentrating.
- Dry skin and hair. Unusually dry and/or itchy rough cracking pale skin even with regular use of moisturizer, dry brittle nails (with or without trimming), coarse, dry hair, and even hair loss.
- Hoarse voice, snoring, and neck swelling.
Common Treatment Methods
Nope, hypothyroidism cannot be cured. However, in almost every patient with this condition, the disease can be totally controlled. Treatment often includes Thyroxine (T4) replacement which basically involves having the amount of hormone that your own thyroid can no longer produce be replaced; thus, bringing your T4 and TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) levels back to normal. So even if your thyroid gland cannot work as usual like it did before, T4 replacement can help bring back your body’s thyroid hormone levels then your body’s function.
Never put off getting tested simply because the symptoms you experience appear like signs of “typical” everyday ailments. With early diagnosis and proper care, it’s very possible to lift the fog and actually feel like your normal, healthy self again.