It may surprise you to learn that 12% of the population in the United States will develop a thyroid problem, with women outpacing men by 5-8 times. But the more eye-opening figure is that up to 60% of those with a thyroid condition are unaware of the problem.
At Hayes Endocrine and Diabetes Center, with Dr. Andrea Hayes at the helm, we specialize in the myriad health issues that can affect your endocrine system, which is responsible for your hormones. From diabetes to thyroid disease, we help our patients in Nashville, Tennessee, navigate these tricky hormonal waters to find long-lasting solutions.
Since hormones work behind the scenes, it’s often hard to discern whether a problem stems from your endocrine system or something else, which is why we’ve pulled together this list of five signs that you may have an issue with your thyroid.
Before we get into the signs of a thyroid problem, let’s quickly review what this gland is responsible for in terms of bodily functions. Your thyroid is located in your neck, and it produces hormones that govern your metabolism, which may seem like a very narrow focus. In point of fact, the hormones produced by your thyroid influence most everything in your body — every cell, every organ, and every tissue.
Most thyroid problems stem from overactivity — hyperthyroidism — or under production, which is called hypothyroidism.
Here are the 5 signs to look for:
Since your thyroid hormones control your rate of metabolism, one of the first signs of a problem are swings in your energy levels. If your thyroid isn’t producing normal amounts of hormones, you may feel excessively fatigued or lethargic.
On the other side of the equation is an overactive thyroid, which can make you jumpy and agitated. You may also feel like your heart is racing, and you experience heart palpitations.
Your weight is largely controlled by your metabolism, which dictates how your body uses energy. If you find you’re gaining weight, and it’s increasingly difficult to shed the pounds, this may indicate a problem with a lack of thyroid hormones.
On the flip side, you may find yourself losing weight without any effort, which might signal an overactive thyroid.
One of the hallmarks of hypothyroidism is patchy hair loss, which can be accompanied by dry skin and brittle nails. These signs of a thyroid problem can develop with both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
If you have a lump in the front of your neck, it may be a goiter, which is an enlargement of your thyroid gland. Even if you don’t have a visible lump, you may feel a tightness in your throat or experience problems with swallowing or breathing.
These symptoms may indicate one of many conditions, including
In some cases, women who are pregnant may experience swelling in this gland.
With an overactive thyroid, you may experience an increasing intolerance to heat as well as excessive sweating. If your thyroid is under-producing, you may have a new sensitivity to colder temperatures. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, or you’re just not feeling yourself, please give us a call so we can get to the bottom of the problem and get you treated. You can also use the online scheduling tool to set up an appointment.