Spotting the Warning Signs of a Thyroid Disorder

Did you know that 12% of people experience some form of thyroid disease in their lifetime? It’s a common disorder with more than 20 million Americans currently living with thyroid problems. Magnolia Medical Center, located in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, knows that your thyroid is responsible for coordinating vital functions in your body, such as energy, growth, metabolism, and even your heart rate. That’s why our team of medical providers and health coaches is eager to educate you about the warning signs of a thyroid disorder.

Thyroid problems occur when hormone levels in your thyroid are either too high or too low. While most people have some risk for thyroid problems, women are eight times more likely than men to suffer from thyroid hormone imbalances. Additionally, thyroid problems seem to increase as you get older.

What exactly is your thyroid?

Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the middle of your neck. If you place your fingers on either side of your Adam’s apple and swallow, you can feel this gland. A properly functioning thyroid gland maintains the right amount of hormones necessary to keep your body’s metabolism functioning. To control your metabolism, your thyroid produces T4 and T3 hormones.  

Your pituitary gland, which rests in the center of your skull below your brain, controls the number of hormones present in your bloodstream. As T4 and T3 hormones diminish, the thyroid begins to create replacements. 

If your thyroid produces too much of these hormones, your body uses energy faster than it should, a condition known as hyperthyroidism. Thyroids that do not produce enough hormones suffer from hypothyroidism, a condition where the body uses energy at a slower rate than average. 

Thyroid disorder symptoms

Common symptoms for hypothyroidism include: 

  • Hair loss 
  • Forgetfulness
  • Hoarse voice 
  • Dry or itchy skin
  • Frequent or heavy menstrual periods 
  • Sensitivity to cold 

Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include: 

  • Enlarged thyroid gland 
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Infrequent or irregular menstrual periods 
  • Irritability or feelings of nervousness 
  • Vision problems
  • Heat intolerance

The symptoms associated with thyroid disorder can be a challenge to determine because they mimic issues associated with other conditions. 

Warning signs of a thyroid problem 

If you believe you’re experiencing thyroid problems, the team at Magnolia Medical Center can confirm your suspicions or put your mind at rest. Still, you should know the warning signs of thyroid trouble:

Regular fatigue

Feeling tired is a common symptom of hypothyroidism. Since your thyroid hormone is responsible for regulating your energy balance, patients with low thyroid functions feel exhausted, while people with high levels of thyroid hormone feel jittery. Low-thyroid patients regularly feel physically exhausted and have difficulty finding the motivation to complete daily activities. 

Weight fluctuations

Metabolic dysfunction in individuals suffering from hypothyroidism often causes weight gain, even if sufferers eat right and exercise regularly.

Patients with hypothyroidism often move around less because they feel tired most of the time. Also, the energy they use during a resting state decreases.

On the other hand, people with hyperthyroidism may experience drastic weight loss. 

Weak, achy joints and muscles

Hypothyroidism can cause the body to use muscle tissues for energy. This decreases muscle strength and gradually triggers weakness and aching. Patients who suffer from low thyroid hormones are twice as likely to experience muscle cramps as healthy individuals. Using a synthetic thyroid hormone such as levothyroxine can improve muscle strength and decrease painful symptoms. 

If you think your symptoms are consistent with a thyroid disorder, contact us by calling 615-953-9007, or booking an appointment online.

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