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Nine Signs of Thyroid Problems

Thyroid is a gland that is located in the frontal part of the neck, beneath the jaw that releases thyroid hormones. This organ is part of the endocrine system of our body and primarily functions as the regulator of the body metabolism (energy consumption). The thyroid hormones regulates important body functions that includes – heart rate, body weight, menstrual cycles, body temperature, breathing patterns, cholesterol levels, liver functioning etc. These hormones are produced, stored and released into the blood stream by the thyroid gland, which uses iodine from the foods that we intake. 

Thyroid gland produces and releases two main hormones - Triiodothyronine/T3 and Thyroxine/T4. 

More about T3 and T4 Hormones…

It is obligatory to maintain the levels of the T3 and T4 hormones for the body to stay healthy. T3 and T4 are required by every cell to regulate the speed with which the cell’s metabolism works. Pituitary and Hypothalamus glands in the brain play important role in maintaining right levels of these hormones. 

Here is how they work! Hypothalamus gland produces TSH Releasing Hormone (TRH) to signal the pituitary to in turn inform the thyroid gland that the levels have gone away from the standard. To convey the same to thyroid, the pituitary gland releases Thyroid Stimulating Hormone or TSH, the amount of which released communicates the level away from normalcy the T3 and T4 have gone. Thyroid gland releases T3 and T4 accordingly to maintain normal levels. 

Disorders of Thyroid…

 

  • Hypothyroidism Also known as under active thyroid or low thyroid where the thyroid gland releases less than the normal levels of T3 and T4 hormones into the blood stream.
  • Hyperthyroidism – Also known as overactive thyroid or high thyroid where the thyroid gland releases more than the normal levels of T3 and T4 hormones into the blood stream. 


Since the thyroid has far-reaching effects on our body, symptoms of ailments related to the release of hormones can be seen from across organs in our body. Some of the most common ones being – 

  1. Uncontrolled weight gain This is one of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism. Due to low levels of hormones, the metabolism rate in the body cells drops drastically causing weight gain. 
  2. Loss of weight – On the contrary, this sign is due to hyperthyroidism i.e. excessive release of thyroid hormones than the normal. Higher metabolism due to increased hormone content in the body is the main cause for this. 
  3. Loss of appetite – Mainly seen due to hypothyroidism where metabolism rate is reduced due to lessened usage of energy by the body cells. Comical is this situation because you gain weight while you eat less. 
  4. Irregular periods – Hyper active thyroid causes periods more frequent and heavy, while hypothyroidism can be a cause for skipping menstrual periods. Get your thyroid checked if you are facing issues with periods. 
  5. Frequent Exhaustion - Energy fluctuations, for no clear reason, are one of the prevalent causes to notify that something's up with your thyroid. Feeling of lethargy and fatigue could be because of your less active thyroid (hypothyroidism). On the contrary, racing heart, anxiety and experiencing jitteriness could be because of overactive thyroid. In either of cases, it is prudent to test your thyroid for any kind abnormalities. 
  6. Frequent mood swings – Unanticipated mood swings is a common sign that you could have issues with thyroid hormones. 
  7. Skin Problems – Under-active thyroid is known to cause skin issues making skin drier than normal as the skin cells and sebaceous glands underperform in moisturising the skin. On the other hand overactive thyroid makes your skin visibly oilier with symptoms of hair loss.
  8. Constipation or Diarrhoea – Experiencing constipation even with intake of proper food can be due to under-active thyroid, which causes the digestion process to slow down. Frequent bowel movements are caused due to over active thyroid causing feeling of diarrhoea. 
  9. Sweating and High sensitivity to cold temperatures – Hypothyroidism causes individuals to experience cold even at normal and high temperatures and hyperthyroidism causes profuse sweating at those temperatures due to overworking sweat glands. 

Again, these signs can be due to various other reasons too so do not panic and consult a good endocrine specialist. As always, Take Care!

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