The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the lower neck. It plays a pivotal role in metabolism and the function of the kidneys, heart, liver, brain and skin. Taking care of this essential gland is important to your overall health and according to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, about one in eight women will develop a thyroid problem in their lifetime.
However, it is not just women who are at risk of developing thyroid problems, men with an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) may produce sperm with poor movement and experience other fertility problems too.
Some common signs of abnormal thyroid function include:
Changes in mood, sleep patterns and energy: People with an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) may feel tired and depressed, while those with hyperthyroidism may be restless and irritable. Both of these states can lead to lack of sleep and insomnia.
Unexplained weight gain or loss: Weight gain is a common sign of a thyroid disorder, and is usually an indication of low levels of thyroid hormones, while weight loss can indicate high levels.
Difficulty regulating body temperature: Hypothyroidism can lead to feeling cold, while excessive sweating and feeling too hot is a symptom of hyperthyroidism.
Changes in heart rate: A quicker or slower pace can indicate a thyroid issue.
Hair loss: This is common for either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Luckily, once the disorder is treated, hair should grow back.
If you notice any of these symptoms, as well as any swelling in the neck area, book an appointment with your doctor.
Simple blood tests can help determine if your thyroid is over- or under-functioning, and with the help of an alternative health practitioner and lifestyle changes you’ll be able to quickly address any concerns and underlying causes for your thyroid condition.
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Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
Worried About Your Thyroid? 5 Warning Signs To Watch For, published online 13.01.16, drweil.com