If you’re one of the 20 million Americans affected by a thyroid disease(1), you know that thyroid function is essential to your health. The thyroid regulates all sorts of important bodily functions through the release of hormones into the bloodstream(2).
Signs Your Thyroid Might Be Having Trouble
Common signs of thyroid disease include the following:
1. Persistent fatigue. If you’re sleeping 8 to 10 hours a night but you’re still tired, it could be a sign that your thyroid hormone levels are low. Chronic fatigue is associated with many different conditions, but it’s also considered one of the most common early warning signs of a thyroid disorder.
2. Brain fog. If you struggle to concentrate on tasks, forget things frequently, and feel as though you’re “walking in a fog” all day, it could be your thyroid. An excess of thyroid hormones can make concentration difficult, while too little can negatively affect your memory.
3. Digestive Issues. Constipation is a common symptom of hypothyroidism, and an overactive thyroid gland can cause the opposite problem – more frequent bowel movements and even diarrhea.
4. Mood swings, anxiety, and depression. Hyperthyroidism causes the body to be constantly flooded with hormones that contribute to anxiety and nervousness. Mood swings, irritability and depression are also signs of a possible thyroid disorder.
5. Excessive weight gain. Putting on a few pounds is one thing, but if you eat right and exercise and still seem to be gaining weight at a relatively fast pace, it might be something to see a doctor about – you could have a thyroid disorder that’s affecting your body’s ability to burn calories.
Other signs of a thyroid disorder can include a sensitivity to cold and heat, ringing in the ears, hair loss, and brittle nails.
Just Because Your Thyroid Tests Are Normal Doesn’t Mean You Can Neglect Your Thyroid
Blood tests can only go so far in detecting imbalances with your thyroid – they’re good for catching major imbalances, like the kind that happen with full-blown thyroid disease, but minor imbalances aren’t as easily detected.
Your diet can play a major role in your thyroid function, especially if you have a tendency to participate in fad diets.
Very low-calorie diets can have a negative impact on your thyroid function and mood, according to one 1990 study(3).
A diet deficient in selenium can also impact your thyroid function(4).