Thyroid disease is an unavoidable statistic for 12% of the U.S. population at some point in their lifetime. Additionally, women are up to eight times more likely to develop the disease than men. Further, there are over 20 million Americans who have the disease and over 50% of these don’t even know they have it.
Much of the reason for missing the signals of thyroid malfunction is the fact that the warning signs are subtle and increase over time. Aches, pains, fatigue and other symptoms are often merely attributed to common ailments or aging. The root of the growing symptoms is often not discovered until damage has already been done.
Since the thyroid is a powerful a gland that has a major impact on well being and overall health, it’s important for you to recognize the warning signs early.
Important Signs of Thyroid Disease
1. Weight gain – If you’ve experienced unexplained weight gain or can’t lose weight no matter what you do, this may indicate that the thyroid hormone isn’t regulating your metabolism properly.
2. Heart palpitations and jitters – An imbalance in thyroid hormones can cause a person’s heart to race and cause unexplained jitters, like the hands shaking.
3. Increased perspiration and anxiety – This goes along with a racing heart and shakiness mentioned above. A break out in perspiration and increased feelings of anxiety are common signs of health issues associated with a thyroid condition.
4. Digestion problems – Irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea-like bowel issues can result from hyperthyroidism.
5. Decreased energy levels – A very common symptom of insufficient thyroid hormones is the inability to have adequate energy to accomplish common tasks. No matter how much sleep you try to get, or how well you try to eat, you may always
6. Constant brain fog – Homeopath, Dr. Ami Sha states that, “Clinically brain fog is defined as a subjective feeling of confusion and lack of mental clarity.”
7. Depression – While depression can be attributed to many other issues, those who also experience a constant feeling of brain fog, also notice they increasingly become depressed. Associated symptoms of thyroid disease such as nervousness and anxiety that are related to hyperthyroidism increase the severity of feelings of depression.
8. Cold hands, feet & low body temperature – Do you usually feel cold and everyone around you doesn’t? This could be a sign of a poor performing thyroid. Dr. Amy Myers of the Austin UltraHealth Clinic says that having a body temperature consistently below 98.5 is definitely a sign of thyroid problems.
9. Dry Skin – A poorly functioning thyroid can cause skin to dry out, plus fingernails may become brittle with ridges appearing.
What to do?
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it is wise to consult your doctor about your concerns. However, since signs of thyroid imbalance can be rather vague, many physicians merely order the standard lab panel which only includes the TSH and T4. This is generally not sufficient to determine the real problem with thyroid malfunctions, suggests Dr. Myers. As a world renowned expert in Functional Medicine, she suggests this additional panel that you can request from your doctor to determine the real issues:
- Free T4
- Free T3
- Reverse T3
- Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb)
- Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb)
Dealing with a thyroid imbalance can significantly improve health and overall body function. It usually requires a multi-faceted approach that includes diet changes, a supplement regimen, healing your digestive tract, lessening the impact of stress and working with a knowledgeable healthcare professional who specializes in
thyroid and autoimmune disorders.