Many people-specially women- may have a thyroid problem and don’t even know about it. It’s a thyroid gland diseases that can affect anyone at any age for many reasons. The dangers of thyroid disease can range from a small, harmless goiter (enlarged gland) that needs no treatment to life-threatening cancer. Fortunately, there are symptoms and signs that can show on a person who might have thyroid problem. Once a person notice these symptoms, it is recommended to see a doctor for an early diagnosis. Which makes the treatment more effective and easy.
Understanding Thyroid problem
It’s estimated that as many as 25 million Americans have a thyroid problem and half of them don’t know they do. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck below the Adam’s apple. A thyroid problem is a common disease that can cause symptoms because of over-or under-function of the thyroid gland. Too much thyroid hormone results in a condition known as hyperthyroidism. Insufficient hormone production leads to hypothyroidism. The thyroid gland is an essential organ for producing thyroid hormones, which maintain body metabolism. How well your thyroid is functioning is inter-related with every system in your body. Unfortunately, if your thyroid is not running optimally, then neither are you.
Common signs of thyroid gland
Just as the types of thyroid conditions can vary, so can the symptoms of thyroid problem. Here are some of the common symptoms:
- Fatigue and need to sleep during the day even after sleeping 10 hours at night.
- Weight gain or the inability to lose weight.
- Mood swings, anxiety or depression.
- Hormone imbalances such as, irregular periods, infertility and low sex drive.
- Muscle pain, joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, or tendonitis.
- Feeling cold when others are not, or having a body temperature consistently below 98.5.
- Dry or cracking skin, brittle nails and excessive hair loss.
- Brain fog, poor concentration or poor memory.
- Neck swelling, snoring or hoarse voice.
- Heat intolerance, complaining about higher temperatures.
4 common thyroid disease disorders
Four common thyroid disorders include Hashimoto’s disease, Graves’ disease, goiter, and thyroid nodules.
This is the most common cause of hypothyroidism (under-function thyroid) in the United States. You might not notice signs or symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease at first. Or you may notice a swelling at the front of your throat (goiter). This disease typically progresses slowly over years and causes chronic thyroid damage. It leads to a drop in thyroid hormone levels in your blood. The signs and symptoms are mainly those of an under-active thyroid gland. Hashimoto’s disease is commonly seen in patients with other autoimmune diseases such as vitiligo, Addison’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, pernicious anemia, diabetes type 1, autoimmune hepatitis and celiac disease.
This disease is named after the doctor who discovered it in Ireland-bert J. Graves in 1835. Graves’ disease is a type of autoimmune problem that causes the thyroid gland to produce too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism). This disease is often the underlying cause of hyperthyroidism. The early symptoms of Graves’ disease may be confused with other conditions and make diagnosis a challenge. However, here are some of the more common symptoms:
- Heat intolerance, sweating
- Chest pain, palpitations
- Shortness of breath
- Increased stool frequency
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty controlling diabetes
- Prominent, bulging eyes
- Vision problems
The most common cause of goiter worldwide is iodine deficiency in the diet. Goiter is often caused by (and a symptom of) hyperthyroidism in the United States, where iodized salt provides plenty of iodine. It can affect anyone at any age, especially in areas of the world where foods rich in iodine are in short supply. However, goiters are more common after the age of 40 and in women, who are more likely to have thyroid disorders. The goiter may cause one or more of the following symptoms depending on the size:
- Swelling/tightness in the neck
- Breathing and/or swallowing difficulties
- Coughing or wheezing
- Hoarseness of voice
The term “thyroid nodule” refers to any abnormal growth that forms a lump in the thyroid gland. They are among the most common endocrine complaints in the United States. Most thyroid nodules do not cause any symptoms. However, if they grow large enough, they can cause swelling in the neck and lead to breathing and swallowing difficulties, pain, and goiter. When this happens, symptoms are similar to those of hyperthyroidism and can include:
- High pulse rate
- Increased appetite
- Weight loss
- Clammy skin
Hair loss and thyroid gland
Hair loss is another sign that thyroid hormones may be out of balance. Both overactive and underactive gland can make hair fall out. Because hair growth cycle depends on the proper functioning of the thyroid gland, abnormal levels of thyroid hormone can result in hair changes. Unfortunately, in most cases these changes are excessive hair loss. luckily, this hair loss condition can be reversed once the thyroid disease is under control.
Make sure to discuss the diagnosis and treatment options with your doctor if you have a thyroid disease. Avoid taking any medication without prescription. You should also report any serious side effects or symptoms during your thyroid disease treatment.
These were the most common signs of thyroid problem. However, it is important to remember that none of these symptoms is absolutely specific for thyroid disease. All of them may be due to a number of different conditions and normal states. But a doctor’s diagnosis can determin whether you have thyroid gland or not. Here is a good video that explains in details what thyroid gland is, what causes it, what are its symptoms and how to treat it: