The thyroid is a minute, butterfly-shaped gland which consists of two connected lobes located in the anterior neck just below the laryngeal prominence. It is one of the largest endocrine glands in the body that is responsible for coordinating many of the body’s activities. The thyroid gland manufactures and secretes hormones that regulate the metabolic status of the body. Several different disorders arise when there is a discrepancy in the amount of which the thyroid gland must produce. Four very common thyroid disorders include Hashimoto’s disease, Graves’ disease, goiter, and thyroid nodules.
Common symptoms of Thyroid Disease
- Nervousness and tremor: These symptoms, along with agitation, can signal hyperthyroidism.
- Mental fogginess and poor concentration: Cognitive function can be affected in both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is often associated with sluggishness and depressed mood, while hyperthyroidism can also lead to a reduced capacity for concentration.
- Menstrual changes: Excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding is often associated with hypothyroidism, while scanty or reduced menstrual flow can be symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
- Feeling bloated: A sign of hypothyroidism can be fluid retention.
- Racing heartbeat: Hyperthyroidism can manifest as tachycardia and palpitations.
- Aches and pains: Different types of thyroid problems can be accompanied by muscle aches and pain.
- Weight gain: Weight gain can result from hypothyroidism.
- High cholesterol levels: Hypercholesterolemia can occur in individuals with hypothyroidism.
- Heat intolerance: Intolerance to higher temperatures is a symptom of hyperthyroidism.
- Feeling cold: Intolerance to lower temperatures is a symptom of hypothyroidism
Who Should Be Tested?
Consult with your healthcare professional if you think you have symptoms of a thyroid problem. People with symptoms or risk factors may need tests more often. Women over the age of 60 are more frequently affected by hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is also more common in women. The risk of either disorder is increased if there is a family history of either disease.
Thyroid Neck Check
An enlarged thyroid that needs medical attention may be spotted by carefully looking in the mirror. Your head must be tipped back, drink ample amount water, and examine your neck below the Adam’s apple and above the collarbone upon swallowing the water. Be wary of any bulges or protrusions that may appear, and then repeat the process a few times. Consult with a healthcare professional immediately if you see a bulge or lump.
Diagnosing Thyroid Disorders
A blood test can offer clarity if your healthcare professional suspects a thyroid disorder. The level of a kind of master hormone that regulates the activity of the thyroid gland called the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) will be measured by this test. Your thyroid function is too low if your TSH is high. The thyroid is overactive if the TSH is low. The levels of other thyroid hormones in your blood may also be checked by your healthcare professional. Imaging studies are utilized and biopsies are acquired to assess a thyroid abnormality in some cases.
It is essential to note that none of these symptoms are unquestionably precise for thyroid disease. All of them may be initiated by a number of different conditions and normal states. Your health care professional can order laboratory tests to assess the status of your thyroid gland if you have disturbing symptoms.