The thyroid gland sits just below the larynx in the throat and is shaped like a butterfly.
It's quite small, but has a considerable effect on the body.
Millions of people across the world suffer from some type of thyroid disorder, and women are six to eight times more likely to suffer than men.
The symptoms of thyroid disorders can creep up on you, and in order to get treated in time, it's important to know your body's warning signs.
Here are 11 things you should pay special attention to:
Thyroid disorders can have a significant impact on your emotional life and cause depression, according to the Harvard Medical School.
Depression is an early symptom of hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid doesn't produce enough of the hormone thyroxine. It can cause sudden severe mood swings and make you feel depressed.
Thyroid disorders can also slow digestion and lead to constipation. This is one of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism.
3. Always feeling cold
Early on, you might not have any visible symptoms even though the thyroid gland's hormone production is irregular. But feeling cold is an early signal that something may be amiss.
Do you often feel cold, are your hands and feet cold, or do you have cold sweats and are sensitive to heat? If so, it may be a sign that something is not right.
4. Constant fatigue
Most people find it difficult to get up early in the morning, and feeling tired is natural when your alarm clock rings.
But if you feel like utter hell in the morning, you should seek medical attention.
Your thyroid gland might not be producing enough hormones, which will make you feel constantly tired as your bodily functions are operating on the backburner.
5. Hair loss and dry skin
Hormone deficiencies caused by the thyroid often lead to dry, itchy skin.
This change in skin texture is a result of a slow metabolism, which reduces sweating. Your finger and toenails become dry and brittle, and you may also lose your hair.
According to the journal Dermato Endocrinol, this is a later sign that you suffer from hypothyroidism, the condition when the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough hormones.
6. Sudden weight gain
Sudden weight gain can of course have many different causes, but if you haven't made any fundamental changes to your diet, you should be extra vigilant.
If you have had a thyroid problem for a long time, you may also become swollen.
Weight gain for no apparent reason is a common reason why many patients go to the doctor. And reason for this weight gain is often that the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough hormones.
7. Changing taste buds
Does your food suddenly taste different? This may be because the thyroid is not functioning properly.
And if you're constantly hungry, this may be due to an overactive thyroid. Hyperthyroidism is the condition where the thyroid gland produces too many hormones. It raises your metabolism causes your body to need more energy.
So even if you eat much more than normal, you won't gain weight. It may sound like a dream for some, but this disorder requires immediate treatment because your body is not feeling well.
8. Difficulty with concentration
An early sign of thyroid disease is difficulty concentrating.
You might also feel confused and mentally fatigued, and if you have had a thyroid problem for a long time, your memory might become poor.
9. High fever
This symptom is quite rare, but hyperthyroidism can cause you to become seriously ill and develop a high fever.
10. Sore throat
When you have a sore throat or a sore thyroid, it's quite obvious that something's not right.
Does it feel like you have a lump in your throat, pressure on your larynx, or a burning sensation there? This means that your thyroid could be inflamed.
11. Heart palpitations
When the thyroid produces too many hormones, it can lead to heart rhythm disorders, including heart palpitations.
If your heart feels like it is beating too quickly, or too heavily, this may be the body's warning signal that the thyroid is not functioning properly.
Bonus tip: thyroid self test
There's actually a simple test you can do to help figure out if your thyroid is working properly.
Stand in front of a mirror and focus your eyes on the spot where the thyroid sits: below the larynx and above the sternum.
Tilt your head back slightly and drink a sip of water. Look closely at your neck and see if there are any strange bulges. Note: Do not confuse the larynx with thyroid.
If you notice any abnormalities during this test, consult a physician.
Remember that in order to diagnose a thyroid disease, you need a thorough medical examination!
This list is not intended to replace that, but hopefully it will help someone out there.
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