A butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of your neck, the thyroid plays a major role in regulating bodily functions, such as the metabolism, by secreting hormones into the bloodstream. If the thyroid isn’t working properly, it can send your whole body out of sync. When the thyroid produces too many hormones, it becomes overactive, which is a condition called hyperthyroidism. On the opposite side of the coin is hypothyroidism, wherein the thyroid is underactive and isn’t producing enough thyroid hormone.
1 | Weight Gain Or Loss
One of the biggest indicators of having an underactive thyroid is unexplained or excessive weight gain. Even if you’re watching what you eat or exercising, you may find that you have put on a few pounds. This is because when your thyroid isn’t making enough of the hormone thyroxine, your metabolism slows down. The weight gain may not be a lot, perhaps, only five to ten pounds, however it may be enough for you to notice.
If your thyroid is overactive or producing too much hormone, you may find that you’re losing weight unintentionally. Doesn’t sound like a problem to you? An overactive thyroid may be caused by a number of conditions including Graves’ disease, Plummer’s disease, and thyroiditis. Your thyroid doctor can go more into detail.
2 | Swelling In The Neck
Whether your thyroid is overactive or underactive, watch out for any swelling or enlargement in the neck area where your thyroid is located. This is known as a goiter. This lump will move up and down when you swallow. This is an important cue to look out for because neck swelling can sometimes happen as a result of thyroid cancer or lumps that are growing inside of the thyroid.
3 | Changes In Heart Rate
Your thyroid has the ability to affect how quickly your heart beats. With an underactive thyroid, your heart rate is typically ten to 20 beats per minute slower than normal. This is particularly true in patients with heart disease; however, an underactive thyroid may also increase the tendency for a condition called atrial fibrillation.
With an overactive thyroid, you may experience the opposite. You may find your heart is racing. It causes increased blood pressure and can cause palpitations. According to Harvard Health, chest pain may also be felt when the heart is beating more forcefully and is fighting to get enough oxygen.
4 | Hair Loss
Hair loss is a symptom of both an underactive and an overactive thyroid. Instead of seeing patches of hair missing, you’re likely to notice your hair is thinner all over. However, don’t worry as there’s good news. Hair loss caused by a thyroid condition is usually temporary. With treatment, your hair will begin to grow back thicker again within several months.
5 | Feeling Too Cold Or Too Hot
Do you find that with regard to temperature, you just never feel comfortable? If you have an underactive thyroid, you may find that you feel cold much of the time. On the one hand, if you have an overactive thyroid, you may feel hot all the time. This happens because the thyroid generates hormones that have the ability to control how much the blood vessels dilate. As a result, this affects how much heat is able to escape the body.
6 | Changes In Energy Levels
Having an underactive thyroid may cause you to feel fatigued. This is because your body’s energy production requires certain levels of thyroid hormone to function. A drop in these levels can cause you to feel worn out. Feeling weak and depressed may be a part of the mix as well. You may find yourself needing a nap every afternoon, or may feel like you’re in a brain fog much of the time. These are all indications of hypothyroidism.
On the other hand, perhaps, you have endless amounts of energy no matter what you do. You find yourself racing from one task to the next. Although this doesn’t sound problematic at all, you could have an overactive thyroid. This means your body’s processes speed up. You may find yourself overly anxious and sweating excessively, with your heart racing.
The thyroid is responsible for producing the hormone that controls virtually every cell, tissue, and organ within the body. Its significance can’t be understated. This is why if you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, don’t hesitate to visit your thyroid doctor to get a diagnosis.