Thyroid problems are very common, affecting millions of people in the country. In most cases, the affected person may not realize that such an issue exists. The thyroid is a very important gland that influences different metabolic processes in the body. Among the different thyroid problems, abnormal production of hormones from the thyroid glands is the most common. Hyperthyroidism is caused by excessive production of thyroid hormones while inadequate production of hormones from the glands results in hypothyroidism. Most of the issues can be treated or managed effectively upon diagnosis. If left untreated, thyroid issues may lead to other problems, like heart disease, depression, infertility, and can also increase the risk of obesity.
Some of the most common signs that may indicate thyroid issues include the following:
- Muscle and joint pain – When thyroid problems are not diagnosed, it may manifest in the form of muscle and joint pains. They may feel weakness in the arms and legs. When the thyroid is malfunctioning, one may also get carpal tunnel syndrome in the hands or plantar fasciitis in the legs.
Changes in hair and skin – One of the most common symptoms associated with thyroid issues is hair loss. Hypothyroidism may lead to brittle and dry hair, hair loss from eyebrows, and also coarse, thick, scaly skin. Hyperthyroidism is characterized by severe loss of hair and thin, fragile skin.
Enlargement in neck – Swelling or discomfort in the neck accompanied by hoarse voice may indicate thyroid problem. The most prominent among them is the enlargement of the gland called ‘goiter’.
Constipation – When left untreated, hypothyroidism may lead to severe constipation while hyperthyroidism leads to diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome.
Irregularities in menstruation – Periods may be heavier and painful with hypothyroidism. It is also seen that periods may be more frequent with this condition. On the other hand, with hyperthyroidism periods may become shorter and infrequent.
High cholesterol levels –With hypothyroidism, blood cholesterol levels may be high and remain so even with diet, exercise or medication. Hyperthyroidism may lead to unusually low levels of cholesterol.
Depression and anxiety – Hypothyroidism may result in depression while hyperthyroidism causes anxiety attacks. Depression may remain unresponsive to antidepressant medications with inadequate amounts of thyroid hormone.
Weight changes – Inability to lose or gain weight even with a standard diet and exercise regime may indicate thyroid issue. Hypothyroidism leads to weight gain even while following the regular diet and food habits.