Your thyroid gland is responsible for several vital physiological and hormonal processes, including weight management and body temperature. When something is wrong with your thyroid, it can take a toll on the production and levels of certain hormones in your body. This can result in certain common but often overlooked health symptoms. Over time, untreated thyroid problems can result in heart, brain, liver, and kidney damage.
Below are 10 common physical symptoms that may not seem like a big deal, but could signal a major problem with your thyroid. If you've been ignoring these symptoms, now it’s time to start paying attention.
1. Heart palpitations
When you have hyperthyroidism, your thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormones, which speeds up your metabolism and other bodily processes. One of the adverse effects of elevated thyroid hormone is a rapid pulse and heart palpitations. However, these issues can be caused by other serious health problems. If you experience heart palpitations, be sure to visit a primary care doctor for complete health screening.
2. Skin dryness
Skin dryness can be caused by different things, from the weather to a thyroid problem. Dry skin is a common sign of hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormone. Lack of thyroid hormone can slow down your metabolism and decrease sweating, which can cause your skin to become dry up and vulnerable to external irritants. Your nails might also become dry and brittle.
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Because of thyroid problems, your body works at a faster pace and spends more energy. So, if you're constantly fatigued, it's a good idea to get your thyroid checked to figure out what's making you extremely tired.
4. Constantly cold limbs
The thyroid gland controls many important functions in your body. It is responsible for the production of thyroid hormone, regulates your metabolism, and body temperature. If you have hypothyroidism, your body temperature may increase significantly. As a result, you are constantly cold, even in warm weather.
An overactive thyroid gland impacts more than just your metabolism and heart rate. This condition may also affect your mood and mental well-being. While excess thyroid hormone stimulates the body's processes, it may also contribute to anxiety. At the same time, an underactive thyroid gland, when your body lacks thyroid hormone, can lead to depression.
6. Memory problems
If you regularly misplace your keys or miss important meetings, it might be a sign of something more serious than stress or a lack of sleep. Your absent-mindedness might be caused by hypothyroidism. When your body does not produce enough thyroid hormone, your cognitive function, particularly memory, suffers.
7. Weight gain
An underactive thyroid gland might slow down your metabolism and contribute to rapid, unexplained weight gain. Weight gain is one of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism. If you experience rapid weight gain along with other symptoms of thyroid problems, see your doctor for hypothyroidism testing.
8. Hair loss
Hair loss is another health issue that can indicate hyperthyroidism. When the production of thyroid hormone is disrupted, it affects different processes in your body, including hair growth. Hormonal imbalance can shock the system responsible for hair growth, causing a condition called telogen effluvium.
9. Frequent constipation
While you might think that your bowel movements aren’t related to thyroid gland function, hypothyroidism can cause constipation. Constipation is a typical symptom of thyroid problems that is usually neglected. If you notice you are visiting the restroom much less frequently, this can be a subtle sign of thyroid problems.
When your thyroid goes into overdrive and produces more thyroid hormone than usual, your metabolism and other bodily systems also speed up. This issue can be reflected in hand tremors and muscular weakness in the legs and arms. Graves disease, a kind of hyperthyroidism, can cause tremors as well as enlarged or bulging eyes.