The thyroid gland, which is a tiny, butterfly-shaped gland at the bottom of the neck, might seem tiny in size but it plays a major role in various functions of the body. And any problem with the functioning of this gland can wreak havoc on the body. In fact, it has been found in recent years that there has been a rise in the number of patients suffering from thyroid disorders, hypothyroidism in particular, and this is especially true for women under 30 years of age.
The thyroid gland secretes important hormones and these play a vital role in the regulation of metabolism, heart rate, and the immune system. Thereby, all the other functions which are dependent on metabolism and the immune system are affected by this gland.
Problems occur when the level of hormones secreted by the thyroid gland is affected, due to various reasons such as autoimmune disorders, genetic disposition, inflammation of the gland, etc. It results in either over-production of the hormones which results in a condition called hyperthyroidism or under-production of the hormones which results in hypothyroidism.
Often the signs and symptoms of these disorders are very subtle and you would otherwise seem okay—that is why the condition often goes undetected. It’s important to be aware of the symptoms of hypothyroidism as well as hyperthyroidism, so that you can recognize them early and can benefit from early treatment rather than when the effect on the body has been greater.
Signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism
In hyperthyroidism, the gland produces too much of the T3 or T4 or both hormones. This results in a metabolic rate that is excessively high and it consequently results in weight loss.
The other symptoms include:
- High blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
- Hand tremors
- Excessive sweating due to low heat tolerance
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Frequent bowel movements
- Inability to concentrate and restlessness
- Brittle hair and nails
- Nausea and vomiting
This is the condition in which the thyroid produces low levels of the hormones and is underactive, which allows the metabolic rate to fall and thus results in excessive weight gain.
The other symptoms of an under-active and inflamed thyroid condition include:
- Slow heat rate
- High levels of cholesterol
- Puffiness of the face
- Sensibilities to cold
- Heavy periods or irregular menstrual cycles
- Memory decline
- Weakness of the muscles with stiffness or tenderness and aches
- Achy joints with stiffness or stolen joints
The signs in children and infants include:
- Short status
- Cognitive delays
- Delayed liberty
- Delayed development of permanent teeth
- Puffy skin
- Growth abnormalities
- Yellow skin and even yellow white of the eye just like in jaundice
- Constant sleepiness
Thyroid disorders do not have drastic symptoms and you would externally seem normal. Your doctor might even take a while to detect the problem. It is therefore important to be aware of the symptoms and once you know the signs and symptoms it will be easy to get diagnosed and start treatment in a timely manner.