Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, is a condition whereby Your thyroid is arguably the most important gland in your body, so it’s important to spot possible signs that could mean it’s not doing what it’s supposed to do. Here’s what to look for, consult your doctor if you have more than one symptom.
1. Feeling Extremely Tired
Being tired after waking up from a full night’s sleep is one possible sign that your thyroid isn’t functioning at its best.
Under ideal circumstances, getting enough sleep should lead to you waking up feeling refreshed and ready to go for the day. Perhaps you’ve gotten so used to feeling this way that you don’t recognize it as a problem, and take it for granted that it’s just a part of life.
Knowing the signs of hypothyroidism, including what is and isn’t a symptom, is important so you don’t go a long time without detecting it, or have a false positive and seek treatment unnecessarily.
Tired for No Reason
Feeling tired after physically exerting yourself from an activity is one thing, but when you feel run down and fatigued as your default setting, it’s a sign that something isn’t right. If you’ve taken steps to boost your energy levels, like eating fresh fruits and vegetables, getting enough water, and getting restful sleep, it may be your thyroid that is causing the low energy levels.
2. Feeling Depressed
If you’ve been feeling down, having depressed thoughts, and otherwise withdrawing from activities and social situations you used to look forward to, you may have an underactive thyroid.
Hormone-induced depression, the kind associated with an underactive thyroid, occurs when you’re not getting the right blend of hormones, affecting your mental state over time if not treated properly.
The Mayo Clinic reminds us that feeling depressed alone is not enough to properly identify an underactive thyroid. You’ll want to look at the other symptoms listed here and see if you are experiencing more than one.
Common Feelings Associated with Depression
It can sometimes be hard differentiating between depression and just feeling sad or negative. One clear sign of depression is that you don’t find enjoyment in things you used to enjoy. Regardless of if it’s your thyroid or not, you’ll want to talk with your doctor if you’re experiencing consistent and constant thoughts that bring you down.
3. General Weakness
We’ve already seen that a state of extreme tiredness could be a thyroid problem, and if that’s paired with muscle weakness it’s even more likely that it’s your thyroid.
Often when you feel tired and fatigued, it’s easy to lump feeling weak together with those symptoms. But you’ll want to make sure that aside from having low energy levels, your muscles feel like they’re straining to contract and stay contracted.
Remember, you only need to show one of these signs to suspect hypothyroidism, so the more you have the more important it is to take steps to treat it.
Specifically Your Muscles
When checking for weakness, it’s your muscles that you’ll want to judge to see if they feel strong and able to get you through the day, or if they’re unable to muster the energy to propel you through what needs to get done.
4. Skin and Nail Dryness
Dry skin and nails are one possible signal that you’re suffering from hypothyroidism. One of the most common signs of hypothyroidism is dry skin, according to the Thyroid Foundation of Canada.
It’s most common to experience this dryness during the winter months when the air is dry and the winds are cold and consistent. Your thyroid fluctuates with the seasons, and you may only experience this symptom in a particular season.
Look for dry, brittle nails and itchy, dry skin as the two biggest signs. You may also experience a dry and itchy scalp. Eczema can also be a sign, and you may even notice that your skin has changed color.
When Moisturizers Aren’t Working
It’s when you’ve applied skin moisturizers and lotions and you’re still experiencing dryness that’s the sign it could be a thyroid problem. Dry skin alone is not necessarily a sign, it’s when it’s excessive to the point of not responding to treatment.
5. Mental Fog
Do you find yourself suffering from a mental haze during the day, even when you’re eating healthy food and getting enough water?
There is a strong link between your hormone levels and the proper functioning of your body’s organs, including your brain. Running a shortage on your thyroid hormone keeps your brain in a less than optimal mode, resulting in what is referred to as brain fog, or mental fog.
Each of us has experienced brain fog at one time or another, and often it will pass and we’ll get back to normal. It’s when you’re consistently experiencing it for long periods of time throughout the day that it could be a thyroid condition.
Other Possible Causes
Check to make sure that what you’re describing as brain fog is not due to other factors such as lack of sleep, hunger, overeating, allergies, dehydration, and other problems that can cause lapses in your ability to focus and stay clear headed.
If you’re eating a diet full of fiber-rich foods and exercising regularly, but still suffer from bouts of constipation, it may be that your thyroid isn’t keeping up the proper pace of hormone production.
It isn’t just constipation, but other bowel-related problems could have their source in an under-producing thyroid.
When you have constipation coupled with at least one other symptom listed here, there is more and more likelihood that your thyroid is involved in some way.
There are many contributing factors when it comes to constipation, and it’s important to make sure there isn’t another reason for your constipation other than your thyroid. Getting your recommended fiber from whole foods and staying hydrated are two of the best ways to insure regularity.
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