How to Tell if You Have a Thyroid Disorder

Feeling Jittery & Anxious
As I just mentioned, anxiety and “feeling wired” are associated with hyperthyroidism, because the thyroid gland is making too much thyroid hormone. This causes your metabolism and body to rev into overdrive. If you feel like you just can’t relax, your thyroid may be “hyper.”

Also, watch for a fluttery feeling like you’re having heart palpitations, or that your heart is actually skipping a beat or beating too hard/too quickly. You may notice these feelings in your chest or at pulse points in your throat or neck. Heart flutters or palpitations can be a sign of too many thyroid hormones flooding your system (hyperthyroidism).

Hair Falling Out or Thinning
Dry, brittle hair that breaks or falls out can be a sign of hypothyroidism. This happens because too little thyroid hormone disrupts your hair growth cycle and puts too many follicles into “resting” mode, which results in hair loss. This sometimes happens all over the body including at the outside of your eyebrows. Something many women report is being asked by their hair stylist if they have a thyroid problem during their appointment. The hair salons are more aware of thyroid problems than some doctors.

An overactive thyroid can also do a number on your hair. Hair issues due to hyperthyroidism typically show up as thinning hair just on your head.

High Blood Pressure
Elevated blood pressure can be a symptom of both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. By some estimates, people with hypothyroidism have two to three times the risk of developing hypertension. One theory is that low amounts of thyroid hormone can slow heart beat, which can affect pumping strength and blood vessel wall flexibility.

Brain Fog
Sure, it could be caused by sleep deprivation or aging, but cognitive functioning can take a hit when your thyroid is out of whack. While too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) can cause difficulty concentrating, too little (hypothyroidism) can cause forgetfulness and general brain fog. When patients are treated for hypothyroidism, they are often surprised at how fast their brain fog goes away and how much sharper they feel. Many women think it’s just something that comes along with menopause when it really is a sign of a thyroid problem.

Constipation
This is one of the top three most common symptoms of hypothyroidism most doctors see. People with hypothyroidism ordinarily complain of constipation, as the disruption in hormone production causes a slowdown of digestive processes, so there’s just no motility in your gut. On the reverse side of the spectrum, an overactive thyroid gland can cause diarrhea or more frequent bowel movements, which is why they’re symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

Painful Extremities or Muscles
Mysterious or sudden tingling, numbness or actual pain in your arms, legs, feet, or hands, could be a sign of hypothyroidism. Over time, producing too little thyroid hormone can damage the nerves that send signals from your brain and spinal cord throughout your body. The result is those “unexplained” tingles and twinges.

Changes In Menstrual Cycle
Doctors find a strong link between irregular cycles and thyroid problems. Longer menstrual periods with a heavier flow and more cramps can be a sign of hypothyroidism. Periods may also be closer together.

With hyperthyroidism, high levels of thyroid hormone cause menstrual irregularities in the exact opposite way, by making them shorter, farther apart and they can be very light.

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