An estimated 27 million Americans have thyroid disease and more than half are undiagnosed. Women are at the greatest risk, developing thyroid problems seven times more often than men. A woman faces as high as a one in five chance of developing thyroid problems during her lifetime, a risk that increases with age and for those with a family history of thyroid problems.
Unfortunately, thyroid disease is frequently misunderstood, and too often overlooked and misdiagnosed, although it affects almost every aspect of health. It is important to understand more about the thyroid, and symptoms of thyroid disorders that occur when there is an imbalance. Arm yourself with knowledge so you can help regain and protect your good health.
Symptoms and Conditions Associated with Thyroid Dysfunction
The thyroid is located below your Adam’s apple at the front of your neck. Thyroid disorders can affect your sense of well-being, metabolism and ability to ward off viruses and bacteria. Below is an overview of the most common problems which develop in the thyroid and the associated symptoms.
Are you always fatigued, no matter how much sleep you get? Do you feel like your brain is in a fog? Are you cold when others aren’t? Do you find that you can’t lose or keep weight off despite dieting? When the thyroid gland is underactive, improperly formed at birth, surgically removed all or in part, or becomes incapable of producing enough thyroid hormone, a person is said to be hypothyroid.
The incidence of low or suboptimal thyroid hormones increases significantly with age. If you compare the symptoms of hypothyroidism with the “normal signs of aging,” you’ll see a striking similarity – neuromuscular dysfunction, depression, memory loss and cognitive impairment (feeble-mindedness), high cholesterol levels, skeletal muscle abnormalities, decreased exercise tolerance, heart disease, and deteriorating general function. Unfortunately, such symptoms are seen as a normal part of aging, but in reality these can be all addressed and dramatically improved.
In the below video you can watch a short interview with Dr. Kent Holtorf talking about the symptoms of hypothyroid and other thyroid disease basics:
When the thyroid gland becomes overactive and produces too much thyroid hormone, a person is said to be hyperthyroid. The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is the autoimmune condition known as Grave’s disease, where antibodies target the gland and cause it to speed up hormone production.
All of the body’s processes speed up with this disorder. Symptoms include: nervousness, irritability, a constant feeling of being hot, increased perspiration, insomnia and fatigue and increased frequency of bowel movements. One may also experience less frequent menstruation, weakness, hair and weight loss, change in skin thickness, hand tremors, separation of the nails from the nail bed, intolerance to heat, rapid heart beat, goiter.
Sometimes the thyroid becomes enlarged — due to Hashimoto’s disease, Graves’ disease, nutritional deficiencies, or other thyroid imbalances. When the thyroid becomes enlarged, this is known as a goiter. Swelling at the front side of the base of the neck, ranging from a small lump to a general enlargement is a sign of a goiter.
Some people develop solid or liquid filled cysts, lumps, bumps and tumors — both benign and cancerous — in the thyroid gland. These are known as thyroid nodules.
When the thyroid becomes inflamed, due to bacterial or viral illness, this is known as thyroiditis. Symptoms of thyroiditis typically include pain and tenderness in the thyroid area, neck and throat, difficulty sleeping. Thyroiditis may also trigger traditional hypothyroid or hyperthyroid symptoms.
Depending on the type of thyroiditis, one may start to see puffiness around the eyes, slowing of the heart rate, a drop in body temperature, or even incipient heart failure.
Fortunately, there is hope, and you can feel better. Search out a doctor that is trained to recognize and treat even the most complex thyroid disorders by using cutting edge testing and integrative treatment solutions.