A vast percentage of the population lives with hypothyroidism, an imbalance of the thyroid gland. Its estimated that almost 90% of thyroid imbalances are directly related to an underactive thyroid. Over 25 million Americans live with this condition, a staggering amount. However, Thyroid imbalances are not terminal diseases and can be treated with medication and lifestyle changes.
The small, butterfly-shaped gland found in your throat called the thyroid governs many different metabolic functions in the body, and when it is not functioning optimally, you may experience a downfall in your health and well-being.
Here are ten signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism;
#1 One of the more common symptoms associated with an under-active thyroid is chronic fatigue. Many people write this sign of hypothyroidism off, believing it to be due to other lifestyle issues they are dealing with that may be responsible for their lack of energy.
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However, chronic fatigue will eventually get the better of you and force you to investigate the reason for your lack of energy. The thyroid regulates the rate at which your body creates ATP, the body’s fuel source. Hypothyroidism throws this system off balance, creating a feeling of exhaustion, even after sleep.
#2 A change in BMI (Body Mass Index). Have you found that you are gaining body fat faster than usual, even though your diet has not changed? This inability to manage body composition is another typical sign of an under-active thyroid. As metabolism slows, the body burns less body fat for fuel and accumulates it as adipose tissue instead.
#3 Irrational mood swings are another regular sign of hypothyroidism. If you experience irritability with your actions or those of other people, or you find that you are overly aggressive or quick to temper, then that may be as a result of an under-active thyroid as well.
#4 The digestive system is closely linked to the thyroid gland. A thyroid imbalance may slow your digestion and result in gastrointestinal disease, constipation, and the development of ‘leaky gut,’ a condition where your gut biomes struggle to assimilate your food.
#5 There are many different types of hormones that have specific purposes in our body, regulating our feeling of well-being. If you have a low sex drive, experience regular bouts of depression, or suffer from high levels of anxiety, this may be due to an under-active thyroid.
#6 Check your neck for any signs of swelling around the front next to your Adam’s apple or windpipe. The thyroid gland is situated in your throat, and if it is swollen, then you should consult a medical professional immediately.
#7 Do your joints feel tight and painful? Perhaps your tendons are inflamed, or you are living with gout? These are all signs of hypothyroidism and its effect on your skeletal and muscular systems.
#8 If you are living with a thyroid imbalance, your toes, fingers, and extremities will begin to feel cold. The thyroid plays a significant role in regulating body temperature, and this sign is a sure-fire symptom of a thyroid imbalance.
#9 Are you struggling to think? Does your brain feel ‘foggy’ and you find it challenging to concentrate or focus? Cognitive function is affected by hypothyroidism, making your mind feel run down and over-worked.
#10 Hypothyroidism can leave your skin feeling dry and cracked. If you suffer from eczema or psoriasis, then an under-active thyroid may exasperate these conditions. Low thyroid function also makes your nails and hair brittle as well.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Under-Active thyroid
If you find that you are experiencing any of the symptoms of under-active thyroid, then make an appointment for a consultation with your medical professional. A doctor will run a hormone panel test using your blood. The doctor will draw your blood and send it to a lab for testing. The analysis will include looking at the following thyroid markers;
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1. Free T4 and Free T3
2. Reverse T3
3. TgAb and TPOAb (Thyroglobulin Antibodies and Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies)
The results of these tests will help your doctor understand the source of the thyroid balance and the best course of treatment to restore correct thyroid function. Your doctor may write you a prescription for medications available from the Thyroid Pharmacist. Use these drugs in conjunction with a few lifestyle changes to ensure a speedy recovery.
Lifestyle changes to Improve Thyroid Function.
Start your thyroid recovery program by eliminating all inflammatory foods from your diet. These foods include any refined flour and sugar you may be consuming. Take a tyrosine supplement; it helps the thyroid to convert FT4 to FT3.
Drink plenty of water and use a vitamin and mineral supplement with your meals to cover any deficiencies you may have.
Remember to get plenty of rest, at least eight to ten hours a night. Sleep is essential for your body’s recovery and optimal metabolic efficiency.