The human body has several glands that create and release substances that help the body carry out vital functions. The thyroid gland is one of them. The human thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland positioned below your Adam’s apple in the neck’s lower part that wraps around the trachea or windpipe.
The thyroid gland has an important job: create and secrete thyroid hormones that control your metabolism. Metabolism transforms the food you have into energy to make your organs work properly. Metabolism can be taken as a generator that converts raw energy to power your body.
Thyroid problems occur when the thyroid levels lose equilibrium and turn too high or low. Thyroid disorders are common; around 12% of people suffer from thyroid disease, and knowing early warning signs of thyroid problems will help you get proper treatment.
What Are Thyroid Problems?
When your thyroid gland fails to make the right amount of hormones for the normal functioning of your body, it leads to thyroid disease, a general medical term for this ill-health condition. And thyroid health conditions are categorized into two: hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
Sometimes, your thyroid gland has high thyroid hormone levels, and your body has to spend more energy very quickly. This leads to a condition called hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid. This high-speed energy spending makes you tired and creates faster heartbeat rates, involuntary weight loss, and makes you anxious or nervous. These physical and mental conditions can also be taken as early signs of hyperthyroidism.
On the flip side, your thyroid gland can also create minimal thyroid hormone, leading to hypothyroidism. In addition, a tiny amount of thyroid hormone in your body tires you and leads to weight gain. Sometimes, it may turn you intolerable to cold temperatures. All these physical conditions can be considered the early symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Hormones determine the efficiency of most of our biological functions, and the early symptoms of thyroid problems should be seen as detrimental to your mental and physical health.
Here we put forward seven significant first signs of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism that could be the signs of thyroid problems.
Experiencing anxiety or nervousness indicates thyroid issues like hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. In addition, you may experience impulsiveness and irritation or turn helpless in controlling your emotional outbursts. If you are prone to these emotional rollercoaster rides, you should get professional help to evaluate what has happened with your emotions and feelings. If you don’t get a valid explanation for the change in your demeanor, you will probably be experiencing signs of thyroid problems.
- Loss of Focus and Concentration
Focus and concentration are much-needed skills in today’s highly distracted digital workplace. In some cases, loss of focus and concentration are considered hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism first symptoms. Do you often find yourself losing focus when trying to finish a task? Or do you often experience forgetfulness or prolonged confusion? If yes, you might be experiencing thyroid warning signs.
For example, losing track of your shopping cart inside the supermarket, forgetting why you entered the kitchen or failing to remember important names and dates are the early symptoms of thyroid disease-induced forgetfulness and confusion.
- Digestive Problems
Digestive problems at extreme ends of the spectrum arise as warning signs of thyroid issues. For example, people who suffer from hypothyroidism experience constipation. And loose stools are the early signs of hyperthyroidism. In addition, hormonal changes lead to most of the digestive problems in your body, so they can be seen as the warning signs of thyroid problems.
- Weight Gain or Weight Loss
Weight gain or weight loss are the early symptoms of thyroid problems. Rapid weight gain is one of the early symptoms of hypothyroidism. When your body doesn’t get enough energy for normal functioning, it fails to burn enough calories to maintain a healthy weight.
Conversely, a more extensive energy supply to your body will result in higher metabolism rates. This will lead to rapid weight loss, a welcome change for most people. However, involuntary weight loss is not suitable for overall health and might be one of the signs of thyroid problems. Therefore, you must seek medical assistance to ensure that the otherwise pleasant physical transformation is not an underlying danger sign.
- Oily or Dry Skin
Dry skin can be one of the early symptoms of hypothyroidism. When the thyroid isn’t functioning as efficiently as it should, hormone levels come down and dry out the skin as its secondary effect.
On the other hand, oily skin is one of the early signs of hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid. When your thyroid is too active, your body will overproduce hormones adding moisture to your skin and hair follicles. Both of these symptoms can result in acne or skin breakouts.
- Changes in Libido and Menstrual Cycle
The sexual functioning of our body is primarily influenced by hormonal changes. So, if you experience irregular or more painful menstrual cycles or uncontrollable emotional symptoms associated with Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), you are dealing with the signs of thyroid problems.
The indication of thyroid issues also includes low libido levels or sexual performance. If you experience difficulty in achieving orgasm or if you cannot sustain an erection or enjoy sex with your partner, you could be struggling with warning signs of thyroid issues.
While all these are hush-hush issues to talk about, you should address these issues to prevent the complications they may bring to your health.
- Poor Sleep Patterns
The thyroid gland often regulates our energy levels, so thyroid warning signs create poor sleep patterns. You may be experiencing early signs of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism
if you can’t keep regular sleep schedules or if you can’t get deep sleep.
In hypothyroidism, poor sleep patterns could be linked to an inability to stay awake or prolonged napping during waking hours.
Diagnosis of Early Warning Signs of Thyroid Problems
Sometimes, early symptoms of thyroid disease are easily confused with those of other health conditions, and therefore, they are challenging to diagnose. In addition, in case of pregnancy or aging, you may experience similar symptoms when you develop thyroid disease. Fortunately, modern medical science has tests that can help you determine if your symptoms are caused either by a thyroid issue or not. These tests include:
- Blood tests.
- Imaging tests or thyroid scans.
- Physical examinations.
A Few Handy Notes
You are prone to develop the early warning signs of thyroid problems if you:
- Have a genetic history of thyroid disease.
- Have medical conditions including Type 1 diabetes, pernicious anemia, primary adrenal insufficiency, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjogren’s (SHOW-grins) syndrome, and Turner syndrome.
- Under a medication regime high in iodine. For example, amiodarone medication.
- Are above 60 years of age, particularly women.
- Have been treated for cancer (radiation).
- Have undergone treatment or surgery (thyroidectomy) for a past thyroid condition.
Various conditions, including hereditary, cause early signs of thyroid issues — hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. And to avoid these problems, you should keep a close watch over every little bodily change to confirm whether it is an indication of thyroid issues. If early warning signs of thyroid problems occur, never hesitate to do thyroid testing to diagnose and begin a medication to regulate the disorder.