The thyroid is a small gland that produces hormones responsible for metabolism of food into energy, regulate temperature and metabolism, as well as assist other vital organs with completing their assigned function. When thyroid problem symptoms develop they will generally fall into one of three categories (hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism and tumor).
The thyroid gland is located in the lower part of the neck beside the windpipe (trachea). It is a very small gland with important functions. Without a proper functioning thyroid; the body is unable to process and metabolize energy effectively. Organs and body systems either become sluggish or their processes are sped up too much.
Categories of Thyroid Problem Symptoms
- Conditions that cause the thyroid to under produce its hormones (is also known as hypothyroidism). The lack of hormones produced does not allow the body to function at optimum level. One or both of the thyroid hormones (called T-3 and T-4) will be under produced.
- Conditions that cause the thyroid to overproduce the T-3 and/or T-4 hormones. This is also called hyperthyroidism.
- The third category involves overgrowth of skin around the thyroid that causes a large nodule (goiter) to form. The tumor like growth impedes the thyroids ability to produce its hormones and may be benign (non cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
Thyroid problem symptoms often go undetected or undiagnosed for long periods because symptoms can look like several other disease processes. A simple blood test to check thyroid hormone levels will show increased or decreased thyroid levels. In the initial phases when symptoms are quite subtle, blood levels may not show enough variation from normal to be considered indicative of disease.
Thyroid Problem Symptoms That Indicate an Overactive Thyroid
Symptoms of hyperactive thyroid include:
- Rapid heartbeat irregularities.
- Feeling constantly hungry and overeating (but not gaining weight from it)
- Anxiety, nervousness, or irritability
- Shaking and tremors of hands and fingers. This is sometimes mistaken for early Parkinson’s disease.
- A sudden loss of weight for no apparent reason.
- Diaphoresis (Sweating)
- Irregular menstrual period
- Muscle weakness and/or fatigue
- Frequent bowel movements or regular bowel patterns change.
- Feeling hot when no one else is.
Treatments for Overactive Thyroid Problem Symptoms
- Medications to block thyroid hormone production.
- Thyroid shrinking radioactive iodine injection.
- Surgery to remove the thyroid. Surgery is a last resort.
- Beta Blockers can help reduce the heart irregularities.
Thyroid Problem Symptoms that indicate an under active Thyroid
Hypothyroidism symptoms are usually more subtle and take longer to detect a problem. Symptoms include:
- Loss of energy
- Very dry skin, hair and nails.
- Facial Swelling
- Sudden weight gain for no apparent reason or change in diet
- Joint stiffness
- Muscle pain or weakness.
- Hypercholesteremia (high cholesterol)
- Hair and fingernails break easily.
- Heavy menstrual flow (not for other reasons)
- Decrease in mental acuity.
Treatment for hypothyroidism involves oral thyroid hormone supplements. Tumors may need surgical removal. If you think you may be suffering from thyroid problem symptoms consult your health care professional.