Could an Off-Balance Thyroid be Causing Your Health Issues? Signs of a Problem
The thyroid gland plays a vital role in a variety of body functions, including the regulation of your metabolism, body temperature, menstrual cycle, and much more. If the thyroid is thrown out of whack by producing too much or too little of the hormone, your health and quality of life may be at risk.
Many people have either an overactive or underactive thyroid and never know there is an issue. Hypothyroidism happens when the thyroid is not producing enough of the hormone while hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid is delivering too much of the hormone because it is overactive.
Here are a few of the most common warning signs that your thyroid is not functioning properly.
One of the first signs that something is off with your thyroid is if you notice that your heart rate is not pumping at its normal speed. An abnormally slow heart rate is a possible sign of hypothyroidism, indicating that the thyroid is not producing enough of the hormone. Conversely, an increased heart rate may indicate that the thyroid is producing too much of the hormone. Generally speaking, anywhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute while the body is at rest is considered to be normal.
Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause your hair to fall out. This happens because an imbalance in the production of the hormone may disrupt the way hair comes in at the root. A problem with the thyroid may also prevent new hair from growing in while also causing thinning on the scalp and the eyebrows. In extreme cases, individuals with thyroid complications may develop the autoimmune disease known as alopecia areata. This condition causes hair to fall out in patches and may even lead to complete baldness.
Fatigue and Weakness
The disruption of proper thyroid function may also manifest itself as fatigue and weakness. It is not unusual for an individual with hyperthyroidism to feel overly energetic. However, these energy bursts can wane over time, leaving you feeling tired and rundown. Along with general feelings of fatigue, a thyroid issue may also present as weakness in the muscles, particularly in muscles located in the central part of the body.
Weight Gain or Loss
Unintentional weight loss or gain is another primary sign that the thyroid may be out of whack. This is because your appetite is greatly impacted by the amount of thyroid hormone that the body is releasing. As your appetite fluctuates, so may your weight. If you notice an extreme change in your appetite or your weight for no explainable reason, it is always a good idea to have your thyroid checked.
Intolerance to Heat or Cold
The thyroid controls the body's ability to regulate its temperature based on the environment around you. However, if your body is producing too much thyroid hormone, you may feel overheated. This may lead to hot flashes or excessive heating. Likewise, not enough of this hormone may translate to the body feeling chilled. This chilling effect is especially prevalent in the hands and feet.
While digestive and bowel issues can be caused by a number of health issues, problems with the thyroid are one of the most common contributing factors. People who struggle with hypothyroidism may notice that they are constipated. On the opposite side of the spectrum are people dealing with loose stools who may have a hyperactive thyroid.
Sleep Cycle Disruptions
Because the thyroid regulates your core body temperature, it also has a hand in your sleep cycles. This is due to the body temperature naturally dropping when your body prepares for sleep. If you are producing too much of the hormone, you may feel more awake, making it more difficult for you to fall asleep and stay that way. However, if you are not producing enough of this critical hormone, you may notice that you are sluggish during the middle of the day even if you get plenty of sleep.
These are just a few of the most common ways that a thyroid issue may present itself. While any of these issues on their own may not be a sign of trouble, taken together as a whole, the symptoms could be a signal that you need to have your thyroid function checked by a medical professional.
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