Not feeling so hot lately? Or perhaps you’ve been feeling too hot. If you’ve recently been plagued by sweating, fatigue, weight gain, hair loss or other unusual symptoms, your thyroid may be the culprit. This tiny, butterfly-shaped gland is located in the base of your neck. Normally, it regulates the body’s growth and development by producing hormones that control your metabolism. Sometimes, the thyroid stops functioning the way it should, especially in women. If your thyroid isn’t working properly, it can cause a host of symptoms that might make you feel under the weather. Getting prompt treatment won’t just help you feel normal again — it can keep serious health problems at bay. Here are some common indicators that it may be time to get your thyroid checked:
Sudden weight gain or loss
Sudden, unexplained changes in weight are one of the most common features of a thyroid disorder. Rapid weight loss or gain may signal that your body is producing too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism), or not enough (hypothyroidism).
Low energy and mood swings
Thyroid issues can have a major effect on on your mood. Hypothyroidism can take the pep out of your step, leaving you feeling sluggish and unwell. Depression, anxiety, problems sleeping and irritability are other signs that something might be wrong.
Unexplained hair loss is another clue that your thyroid is out of sync. Too much or too few hormones can cause hair to fall out. Fortunately, the hair will usually grow back once the thyroid condition is treated.
Feeling too hot or cold
Thyroid problems can interfere with the way body temperature is regulated. If you’re hormone-deficient, you may feel cold all the time. Too much hormone can have the opposite effect, causing you to sweat and feel overly warm.
These are some of the major signs of a thyroid issue, but there are many other possible symptoms. Additional clues that there’s a problem include:
- Swelling in your neck
- Dry skin and brittle nails
- Numbness or tingling in your hands
- Abnormal or irregular menstrual periods
- Muscle weakness or trembling hands
- Changes in vision
When left untreated, thyroid problems can have serious health consequences, including heart attack and stroke. If you’ve been suffering from the symptoms above, make an appointment with your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Your doctor can perform a test to determine if you have a thyroid disorder and get you started on an appropriate treatment plan as needed.