By Alane Stieglitz, ND, CNC
The thyroid gland is a small gland that sits in front of your windpipe. Even though it is tiny, it needs to work well to avoid hypothyroid symptoms and feel your best. Too many people are bothered by hypothyroid symptoms, and they do not realize the answer lies in this small gland that is so important for many bodily functions. Hypothyroid symptoms occur when the thyroid gland slows down, reducing the amount of thyroid it outputs into the body.
1) Fatigue: This usually starts with a general feeling of sluggishness. You used to be able to do more in a day, and now you cannot. A simple day of work and the family will feel like an exhausting eternity with little or no hope for enjoyment again. Over time, as the thyroid slows down and hypothyroid symptoms reveal themselves, even more, this sluggishness turns into total exhaustion even with performing simple tasks. You may need to stop and take naps during the day, and the number of hours you sleep at night may seem to increase. And even though you slept for 8-9 hours, you still wake up feeling fatigued.
2) Weight-Gain: When the thyroid gland slows down, so does your metabolism. The result is your body will store more fat from your diet. And even if you cut calories, your weight can continue to increase. A study has shown that people with hypothyroid symptoms can gain 15-30 pounds in just one year!
3) Feeling Cold: Since your metabolic rate has slowed down, your body is not producing “heat.” When your thyroid is working right, it turns up your thermostat on brown fat, generating heat. Brown fat keeps you warm during the winter months. Think about this when you are with many people, and you are the only one feeling cold.
4) Weakness and Aches and Pains: When hypothyroid symptoms are present, it causes the body to break down tissues like muscle for energy. This causes the muscles to feel weak and hurt. If you are feeling achy more than usual, you may want to consider hypothyroidism.
5) Hair Loss: Yes, your hair is regulated by the thyroid gland, and if it is hypothyroid, one symptom can be hair loss. A slow thyroid can lead to hair follicles stop regenerating. Usually, a person with hypothyroid symptoms will start noticing some hair loss, then more, and their hair may seem courser than usual.
6) Skin is Fry and Itchy: Your skin is also relying on your thyroid working well, so it looks and feels healthy. Around 74% of people with hypothyroid symptoms have dry skin.
7) Depression: The first thing I check for when someone talks to me about depression is their thyroid levels. Many times when the thyroid is working right, the feeling of sadness goes away. But of course, there is a situational depression where counseling can help.
8) Brain Fog: If your thyroid is slow, you will feel sluggish, and yes, in your brain too. Studying, reading, understanding, etc., may take more effort or cause more “brain strain.” Memory seems to go away, too, as the thyroid levels drop and return as the hypothyroid symptoms are appropriately treated.
9) Constipation: A sluggish thyroid can lead to a sluggish colon. Things do not move smoothly when the thyroid is slow.
10) Heavy or Irregular Periods: When a young lady tells me her periods have stopped for a few months, I tend to look at the thyroid levels. They are generally slow. The thyroid hormones need to be optimal so they will interact adequately with the sex hormones.
That tiny butterfly-shaped gland in your neck, called the thyroid, has many important jobs to do. When it slows down, everything else seems to slow down with it. Proper thyroid testing and treatment can make a world of difference in how a person feels!
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Medical disclaimer: Our tests cannot be used to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. All test results are to be used as educational materials and as a guide to help support your overall health and wellness. Always discuss health concerns with your medical doctor.