Thyroid disorder is common, affecting people of all ages. Twelve percent of people experience some form of thyroid disease in their lifetime. Over 20 million Americans are currently living with the disorder. Your thyroid is responsible for coordinating functions in your body, such as energy, growth, and metabolism.
Problems tend to occur if hormone levels in your thyroid are either too high or too low. While most people remain at risk for thyroid problems, women are eight times more likely than men to suffer from these type of hormone imbalances. Additionally, thyroid problems seem to increase as you age.
At Medinet Family Care Clinic located in Houston and Sugar Land, TX, Bharat Gandhi, MD and Priya Gandhi, MD, MPH, understand the importance of learning what triggers thyroid problems. Both are experts in providing treatment options for symptoms associated with the disorder.
What is the thyroid?
Your thyroid gland is small, rests in the middle of your lower neck, and is distinctive in its butterfly-like shape. Placing your fingers on either side of your Adam's apple and swallowing helps you feel this gland. A thyroid gland that functions properly maintains the right amount of hormones necessary to keep your body's metabolism functioning. To control your metabolism, your thyroid produces T4 and T3 hormones.
Your pituitary gland controls the number of hormones present in your bloodstream. This gland rests in the center of your skull below your brain. As T4 and T3 hormones diminish, the thyroid begins to create replacements.
If your thyroid produces too much of these hormones, your body uses energy at a faster rate than it should. This is known as hyperthyroidism. Thyroid's that do not produce enough of these hormones suffer from hypothyroidism, a condition where the body utilizes energy at a slower rate than average.
Symptoms of a thyroid disorder
Some common symptoms for hypothyroidism include:
- Hair loss
- Hoarse voice
- Frequent or heavy menstrual periods
- Dry or itchy skin
- Sensitivity to cold
Some common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:
- Irritability or feelings of nervousness
- Infrequent or irregular menstrual periods
- Sleep disturbances
- Vision problems
- Enlarged thyroid gland
- Intolerance to heat
The symptoms associated with thyroid disorder can be challenging to determine because they mimic issues associated with other conditions.
Here are some potential warning signs of a thyroid problem
If you're experiencing symptoms that you fear are related to a thyroid issue, put your trust in the physicians at Medinet Family Care Clinic. They can provide you with solutions to adverse medical problems affecting your life.
Experiencing fatigue regularly
A common symptom of hypothyroidism is feeling tired. Your thyroid hormone is responsible for regulating your energy balance. Patients with low thyroid functions feel exhausted while people with high levels of thyroid hormone feel jittery. Low-thyroid individuals experience regular physical exhaustion and have difficulty finding the motivation to complete daily activities.
Fluctuations in weight
The metabolic function of individuals suffering from hypothyroidism often causes weight gain. Patients with hypothyroidism tend to move around less, instead of burning calories, the energy they use during a resting state decreases. Your body begins to store more calories signaling your liver, muscles, and tissues to hold on to fat cells.
People who experience symptoms of hyperthyroidism may experience drastic weight loss. Gaining weight in spite of a healthy diet and regular exercise might signal a thyroid issue.
Weak or achy muscles and joints
Hypothyroidism causes tissues like muscle to break down as a source for energy. The strength of your muscles decreases, gradually triggering feelings of weakness and aching. Patients who suffer from low thyroid hormone are twice as likely to experience muscles cramps as healthy individuals. Using a synthetic thyroid hormone such as levothyroxine might improve muscle strength and decrease painful symptoms.
Feelings of depression
If you're feeling down or depressed, hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism may be responsible. While the cause remains unclear, medical professionals cite an overall decrease in energy and health as an adverse mental symptom associated with thyroid problems. People with thyroid disorders also report feelings of anxiety or paranoia.
Thyroid hormone replacement therapy has been known to improve depression in patients who suffer from hypothyroidism. If you're feeling depressed, it is essential to talk to a trusted physician or therapist as soon as possible.
If you’re experiencing symptoms that might be related to thyroid disorder, call our office or book an appointment online.