How energetic you are may depend on how your thyroid is functioning. The thyroid is an endocrine gland that is chiefly responsible for regulating metabolism and overall growth, according to Britannica. Hormones secreted by the thyroid heavily affect the performance of the heart, brain, and liver, and the butterfly-shaped gland is located at the front of the lower neck.
There are two main issues associated with the thyroid. Hyperthyroidism is the production of too much thyroxine hormone, causing accelerated metabolism. Hypothyroidism is caused by not producing enough of the hormone, resulting in a slowed metabolism. Effects of these disorders will vary based on the severity of the hormone deficiency, according to Mayo Clinic.
Here are some common signs and symptoms of an over or underactive thyroid:
Goiters are when the thyroid noticeably swells up, causing a tight feeling in the throat and difficulty swallowing. While not exclusive to hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, goiters can be a warning sign of thyroid issues linked to this disease, according to Mayo Clinic. Iodine deficiency, Hashimoto’s disease, and Graves’ disease all cause excess or deficient amounts of thyroxine resulting in goiters.
Unusual heart rate
Depending on the type of thyroid problem, heart rates will either speed up or slow down in response to the production of hormone. Hyperthyroidism can lead to faster heart rates, which in turn may develop palpitations or atrial fibrillation, according to Harvard Health Publications.
Unexplainable weight loss or weight gain could be the result of an over or under-regulated metabolism, according to Healthline. Typically following the changes in metabolism, weight loss occurs when the thyroid gland is overactive, and weight gain accompanies a decline in hormone production. Noticeable fluctuations in weight are one of the most common symptoms and take place with little to no change in routine, diet or exercise of patients.
When thyroid hormone levels are elevated, patients experience sleep deprivation according to the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. Despite not being able to sleep properly, those suffering from thyroid disorders will often be fatigued throughout the day. In the same study, sleep deprivation also showed to possibly cause changes in the thyroid’s regulation.
In addition, mood can be affected by hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. With hyperthyroidism, emotional changes may include unusual nervousness, restlessness, anxiety, and irritability, according to Mayo Clinic. On the opposite side of the spectrum, hypothyroidism can cause depression as well as severe fatigue.
Treatment options generally require patients to take medication for the rest of their lives to regulate thyroid hormone production.
See a doctor if you think you have experienced any of these symptoms. Keep a list to go over when talking to a doctor about thyroid disease. While easy to determine using a blood test, cases of thyroid issues that go unresolved can have lasting consequences on patient’s health.
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