Thyroid disorders are common. You probably know people with thyroid issues (including yours truly), and you might have wondered on occasion if your thyroid is behaving itself. Most people have heard that a poorly functioning thyroid can make you feel tired and cause you to gain weight. And let’s face it, who doesn’t struggle with those issues? So...maybe it’s your thyroid?
Well, it’s possible. But first things first.
Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that resides in your neck. It produces two hormones: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones control how your body stores and uses energy—your metabolism, essentially.
Thyroid function can go out of whack in a few different ways, but the most common is hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), followed by hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid).
There are a variety of reasons why your thyroid gland may not be producing enough thyroid hormone for your body’s needs. When this happens, here are some of the symptoms you may experience:
On the other hand...
Sometimes the thyroid gland can become overactive. Many of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism are, essentially, the opposite of the symptoms of hypothyroidism. Here are some of the typical ones:
The trouble is, many of these symptoms are fairly vague, and could be caused by a variety of underlying issues. Fatigue, for example, is a very nonspecific symptom—meaning, lots of conditions cause it (see: Why Am I So Tired? 10 Common Causes Of Fatigue).
Fortunately, there’s a simple blood test to evaluate thyroid function. If you are experiencing some of the symptoms above, book an appointment with your doctor and request the blood test. If it turns out there is something going on with your thyroid, depending on the exact nature of the problem, you may need further testing, treatment, or specialist referral.
Thyroid disorders are, for the most part, very treatable conditions—but the first step is to see your doctor and get tested.
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