10 Symptoms You Can Experience If Have Hypothyroidism
In this post we’ll be taking about a very important hormone in our body – the thyroid hormone, and what happens when you have low levels of thyroid hormone in your body.
The thyroid gland is a small organ that’s located in the front of the neck, wrapped around the windpipe aka trachea.
Your thyroid has an important job to do — releasing and controlling the levels of thyroid hormone. The main role of thyroid hormone is to control many vital functions of your body including your metabolism.
Metabolism is a process where the food you take into your body is transformed into energy. This energy is used throughout your entire body to keep many of your body’s systems working correctly.
The two hormones created by the thyroid regulates how much energy is being used in the body When your thyroid works properly, it will maintain the right amount of hormones to keep your metabolism working at the correct rate.
Thyroid disorders are very common.
Women are eight times more likely to develop a thyroid disorder than men.
Also, thyroid problems increase with age and may affect adults differently than children.
Thyroid Problems can occur when this hormone’s levels are too high or low On this basis, the symptoms of thyroid disease can be divided into two groups — those related to having too much thyroid hormone k/a hyperthyroidism and those related to having too little thyroid hormone k/a hypothyroidism.
In this post we will take a short look at how low thyroid hormone levels aka hypothyroidism affects our body and what symptoms it produces.
Keep in mind, that these are just symptoms and they are not definitive proof of the disease itself. So, before jumping to any conclusion on your own – always consult a doctor for professional opinion.
So, let’s begin and look at the 10 symptoms you can experience if have hypothyroidism
Number 1, Feeling Tired
One of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism is feeling worn out. Thyroid hormone controls energy balance, and can influence whether you feel ready to go or ready to nap.
Thyroid hormone receives signals from the brain and coordinates cells to change their functions, depending on what else is going on in your body.
Those with high levels of thyroid hormone feel nervous and jittery.
In contrast, people with low thyroid levels feel exhausted and sluggish.
Low-thyroid individuals feel unrested, even though they may be sleeping more.
In a study, 50% of people with clinically diagnosed hypothyroidism felt constantly tired, while 42% of people with low thyroid hormone said, they slept more than they used to.
Feeling sleepier than usual without a good explanation could be a sign of hypothyroidism.
Number 2, Gaining Weight
Instead of burning calories for growth and activity, the amount of energy you use at rest, or your basal metabolic rate, decreases. As a result, your body tends to store more calories from the diet as fat. Because of this, low thyroid hormone levels can cause weight gain, even if the number of calories eaten remains constant.
In fact, in one study, people with newly diagnosed hypothyroidism gained an average of 15–30 pounds in one year, since their diagnoses. If you’ve been experiencing weight gain, first consider whether changes in your lifestyle might explain it.
If you seem to be gaining weight in spite of a good diet and exercise plan, bring it up with your doctor. It might be a clue, that something else is going on.
Number 3, Feeling Cold
Heat is a by-product of burning calories. Even when you’re sitting, you’re burning a small amount of calories. However, in cases of hypothyroidism, your basal metabolic rate decreases, reducing the amount of heat you generate.
That’s why, low levels of thyroid hormone cause you to feel colder than others around you. About 40% of low-thyroid individuals feel more sensitive to cold than usual. If you’ve always wanted the room warmer than the people you live and work with, this may just be the way you are built.
But if you have noticed yourself feeling colder than normal lately, it could be a sign of hypothyroidism.
Number 4, Weakness and Aches in Muscles and Joints
Low thyroid hormone flips the metabolic switch of proteins toward catabolism, which is when the body breaks down body tissues like muscle for energy.
During catabolism, muscle strength decreases, potentially leading to feelings of weakness.
The process of breaking down muscle tissue can also lead to aching.
A study showed that 34% of low-thyroid individuals get muscle cramps in the absence of recent activity. One study in 35 individuals with hypothyroidism showed that replacing low levels of thyroid hormone with a synthetic thyroid hormone called levothyroxine improved muscle strength and decreased aches and pains, compared to no treatment.
Weakness and aches are normal following strenuous activity. However, new, and especially increasing, weakness or aching is a good reason to make an appointment with your physician.
Number 5, Hair Loss
Like most cells, hair follicles are regulated by thyroid hormone.
In one study, about 25–30% of patients seeing a specialist for hair loss were found to have low thyroid hormone.
Number 6, Itchy and Dry Skin
Like hair follicles, skin cells are characterized by rapid turnover.
Therefore, they are also sensitive to losing growth signals from the thyroid hormone.
When the normal cycle of skin renewal is broken, skin may take longer to regrow.
This means the outer layer of skin has been around longer, accumulating damage. It also means that dead skin may take longer to shed, leading to flaky, dry skin.
One study showed 74% of low-thyroid individuals reported dry skin. Additionally, the study showed that 50% of people with hypothyroidism reported that their skin had gotten worse over the past year.
Number 7, Feeling Down or Depressed
Hypothyroidism is linked to depression. The reasons for this are unclear, but it might be a mental symptom of an overall decrease in energy and health. 64% of women and 57% of men with hypothyroidism report feelings of depression.
Feeling depressed is a good reason to talk to a physician or therapist.
They may be able to help you cope, regardless of whether the depression is caused by thyroid problems or something else.
Number 8, Trouble Concentrating or Remembering
Many patients with hypothyroidism complain of mental “fogginess” and trouble concentrating. The way this mental fogginess presents itself varies by person.
In one study, 22% of low-thyroid individuals described increased difficulty doing everyday math, 36% described thinking more slowly than usual and 39% reported having a poorer memory.
The causes for this are not yet fully understood, but difficulties in memory improve with treatment of low thyroid hormone. Difficulties in memory or concentration can happen to everyone, but if they are sudden or severe, they could be a signal of hypothyroidism.
Number 9, Constipation
Low thyroid levels can put the brakes on your colon. According to one study, constipation affects 17% of people with low thyroid hormone, compared to 10% of people with normal thyroid levels.
In this study, 20% of people with hypothyroidism said their constipation was getting worse, compared to only 6% of normal-thyroid individuals.
If you experience constipation but otherwise feel fine, try these natural laxatives before worrying about your thyroid. If they don’t work, your constipation worsens, you go several days without passing a stool or you begin having stomach pain or vomiting, seek medical advice.
Number 10, Heavy or Irregular Periods
Both irregular and heavy menstrual bleeding are linked to hypothyroidism.
One study showed that about 40% of women with low thyroid hormone experienced increasing menstrual irregularity or heavy bleeding in the last year, compared to 26% of women with normal thyroid levels.
Thyroid hormone interacts with other hormones that control the menstrual cycle, and abnormal levels of it can disrupt their signals.
Also, thyroid hormone directly affects the ovaries and uterus.
If you have irregular or heavy periods that disrupt your lifestyle, consider talking with a gynaecologist before worrying about your thyroid.
If you have any of these – do consult your physician for further evaluation.
Once diagnosed - The treatment of hypothyroidism is by daily intake of levothyroxine tablets – your physician will decide the optimum dose by correlating your blood work and improvement levels. So, friends, here were 10 signs and symptoms that may indicate that you have low thyroid levels.