Is your thyroid out of whack?

Do you experience chills, sweats, anxiety, hair loss, brain fog or unaccounted for weight gain?

There may be a problem with your thyroid.

Your thyroid gland produces hormones that affect nearly every organ in your body and help to control your metabolism. Problems with your thyroid can result in too many or too few hormones being produced, causing your metabolism to speed up or slow drastically. Approximately one in 20 people will experience a thyroid problem in their lifetime.

Hypothyroidism
When your thyroid gland is unable to produce enough hormones, your metabolism may slow down, a condition known as hypothyroidism. If left untreated hypothyroidism can cause a life-threatening drop in body temperature, brittle bones, raise cholesterol levels and increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Common side-effects include:
– weight gain
– brittle finger nails
– dry skin
– feeling depressed, tired or lethargic
– feeling cold
– your heart rate may slow due to hypothyroidism
– constipation
– irregular menstrual periods
– numbness or tingling in the hands

Hyperthyroidism
When your thyroid gland produces more hormones than your body needs your metabolism speeds up, a condition known as hyperthyroidism. This condition affects women more often than men and is commonly caused by Grave’s disease.

Common side-effects include:
– weight loss
– sleeping problems
– feeling anxious, irritable or restless
– diarrhoea
– feeling hot and sweaty
– increased heart rate
– problems with your vision
– irregular menstrual periods
– muscle weakness or trembling hands

Swelling in the neck
Goitre is an enlargement of the thyroid gland, located just below your Adam’s apple, and while it is normally painless it can affect breathing and cause coughing. This may signify hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, but swelling may also indicate cancer in the nodules or thyroid.

Unhappy heart
Heart palpitations, feeling as though your heart is pounding in your chest, and increased blood pressure may be signs of a thyroid disorder.

Hair loss
While hair usually grows back after the thyroid disorder is treated, both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause your hair to fall out.

Treatment for thyroid disorders ranges from medication to radioactive iodine therapy to surgery. If you are concerned that you may have a thyroid disorder, consult your regular GP or an endocrinologist.

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Written by Liv Gardiner

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