Signs of a thyroid problem in your body are often overlooked because they are subtle and progress very slowly.
In time, as your symptoms progress, you may begin to realize that something is wrong with your body.
Your thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland that lies across the lower part of your neck and wraps around your trachea, which is your wind pipe.
This gland produces and stores certain hormones which regulate a number of vital functions in your body such as heart rate, blood pressure and your body temperature.
According to the U.S. Library of Medicine, the thyroid hormones are needed to regulate many of your body’s activities.
Thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) are the two most important thyroid hormones produced by a healthy thyroid gland. Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is a hormone that is produced by your pituitary gland and has the job of stimulating your thyroid gland to produce hormones. When there is a low level of thyroid hormones in your body, the TSH level is raised in your blood, because the pituitary gland is working overtime by trying to trigger your thyroid gland to work. This can sometimes lead to a goiter, which is an enlarged thyroid.
The level of TSH in your body is the blood level your doctor looks for which helps her to diagnose a thyroid problem. Your thyroid gland also produces a hormone called calcitonin which plays a very crucial part in stimulating your bone cells to get calcium into your bones.
Thyroid hormones regulates chemical reactions in your body which affects the balance of your metabolism. Metabolism plays a vital role in your body. When your metabolism is out of balance, you may experience many symptoms associated with an underactive thyroid. A lack of thyroid hormones in your body is known as hypothyroidism, which causes a number of symptoms.
Some of these symptoms are:
• Fatigue. You may think that you are experiencing fatigue, sluggishness and feeling more tired because you are getting older or because you work hard. This vague symptom may actually may be a thyroid problem.
• Weight Gain. A healthy thyroid produces hormones which keeps your metabolism working as it should. A lack of thyroid hormones causes your metabolism to slow down, resulting in unwanted weight gain. You may not have noticed the weight gain at first since it began very slowly. The trigger is that you are having a difficult time trying to lose those extra pounds.
• Dry skin is also a symptoms of thyroid problems as well as feeling cold most of the time.
• Hair Loss. You may notice that your hair has been shedding more than usual. This symptom also probably started very slowly until you noticed that your hair is not as thick as it used to be.
• Constipation is caused by many different problems, but it is also a common sign of an underactive thyroid gland because of the slowing of your metabolism.
Seek prompt medical attention if you have been experiencing any of these symptoms which seem to be getting progressively worse.
If an underactive thyroid problems is not corrected, it may lead to a dangerous condition known as Myxedema which is a very rare and life-threatening condition. Symptoms of this condition include cold intolerance and severe drowsiness which leads to lethargy and unconsciousness.
A thyroid problem is easily detected by a simple blood test. The good news is that there are replacement hormones your doctor can prescribe to remedy a possible thyroid problem which will help you to feel better and become healthy again.
As part of its monthly community wellness lab draws, Carson Valley Medical Center offers a $40 Free Thyroxine screening (Free T4). Community wellness lab draws are conducted on the third Thursday of each month at the CVMC lab, 1107 Highway 395 N in Gardnerville, between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Patients must be 18 years of age or older. No physician’s orders or appointments are necessary. Insurances will not be billed for community wellness services. Cash, check and credit/debit cards are accepted.
National Center for Biotechnical Information. Underactive Thyroid Overview. U.S. Library of Medicine. October 8, 2014. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072785/