According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, 30 million Americans have some sort of thyroid disorder, but only half have actually been diagnosed, which means there are a lot of people walking around with thyroid issues and they don’t even know it.
The thyroid, a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the neck, is your chief metabolism gland and when it isn’t functioning properly, it can negatively affect your mood, weight and put you at higher risk for serious illnesses like heart disease.
Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid isn’t producing enough of the thyroid hormone and hyperthyroidism is where too much of the hormone is produced.
Symptoms that something may be off with your thyroid can mimic every day, seemingly non-threatening conditions. Here are seven easy to overlook signs that you should have your thyroid tested:
1. Muscle/joint pain
Aches and pains in your muscles and joints, and also weakness in your arms could be signs that your thyroid isn’t functioning properly.
2. Neck discomfort/swelling
If you notice swelling in your neck and/or that your voice is hoarser than usual, then you may have a goiter, an enlarged thyroid gland, which is also a symptom of thyroid disease.
3. Dry skin/unexplained hair loss
Hair loss is a common symptom that’s associated with thyroid issues along with dry, rough, scaly skin. With hypothyroidism, skin may thicken; with hyperthyroidism, skin may become fragile and thin.
4. Menstrual irregularities
Are your periods heavier, more frequent and more painful than usual? Or, are they the exact opposite? Either way, this could be a sign of hypothyroidism (heavier) or hyperthyroidism (lighter).
5. Weight issues
Have you been working super hard – eating right and exercising regularly – to lose weight, but you still haven’t been able to shed a single pound? Inability to lose or gain weight is one of most common signs of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
6. Cholesterol issues
High cholesterol or unusually low cholesterol levels are strong indicators that there’s an issue with your thyroid.
Do you still feel tired even after getting eight or more hours of uninterrupted sleep? Your thyroid might be to blame. Additionally, depression and anxiety could be symptoms of thyroid disease.
As common as these symptoms may seem, if you are experiencing any of these for an extended period of time, it is wise to see your doctor.