Metabolic Syndrome

Could It Be Hypothyroidism? Top 10 Symptoms

BY Nisha Jackson TIMEMarch 22, 2022 PRINT

Hypothyroidism is one of the most common diseases worldwide and has a direct impact on quality of life. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones. This can result in heart disease, infertility, and poor brain development in children.

What is the thyroid?

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland situated at the base of the front of your neck. Though this gland is small, it is extremely powerful. The hormones produced by the thyroid gland have a tremendous impact on your health, essentially affecting all aspects of your metabolism (energy). Metabolism is the process where the food you consume is transformed into energy. This energy is used throughout your entire body to keep many of your body’s systems working correctly.

The hormones created by the thyroid can affect:

  • Your heart rate
  • Weight control
  • Inflammation
  • Brain function
  • Heart health
  • Weight control
  • Mood
  • Immunity
  • Digestion

Hyperthyroidism vs. Hypothyroidism

When I was in nursing school and learning about the complex endocrine system, one of my most knowledgeable and educated professors, Dr. H, said that a simple way to start understanding the basic concept of the thyroid, whether that be hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, is to think of the work thyroid as “energy!

  • Hypothyroidism means not enough metabolic energy.
  • Hyperthyroidism means too much metabolic energy.

Hypothyroidism can decrease or slow down your body’s functions like slow metabolism, tiredness, and weight gain. On the other hand, with hyperthyroidism, you may find yourself with more energy (as opposed to less) and anxiety instead of depression.

In the U.S., hypothyroidism is more common than hyperthyroidism. It is important to find a provider who specializes in hormones, to develop a customized treatment plan to balance your thyroid.

Top 10 Common Signs and Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

1. Fatigue

One of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism is feeling completely worn out. The thyroid hormone controls energy balance and can influence whether you feel ready to take on the world or take a nap. A classic sign of low thyroid is “hitting the wall” in the afternoon.

2. Weight Gain

Hypothyroidism hits the trifecta in regard to weight gain. It signals the body to store more calories, burn fewer calories, and send signals to the brain to eat more. Not exactly the roadblock we need when trying to get ready for a big event, lose that baby weight, or drop those last stubborn pounds.

3. Constipation

In the most simple of explanations– it puts a brake on your colon. Constipation has numerous causes, and the majority of people who have constipation don’t have hypothyroidism. However, if you are noticing several of these signs and symptoms, it doesn’t hurt to get your hormones tested to rule out hypothyroidism.

4. Feeling Cold

This may be very noticeable or discrete at first and get worse as time goes on. Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories to keep your body functioning at rest (meaning how many calories we are burning at rest). With hypothyroidism, your BMR is lowered, therefore you produce less heat and are more sensitive to the cold.

5. Thinning Hair

Just when you thought this little gland couldn’t be responsible for anymore, it turns out your hair is affected by your thyroid, too.

Hair follicle cells are rapidly growing and these cells are regulated by the thyroid hormone. When the thyroid is under-active, it causes hair follicles to stop regenerating. What’s worse? Studies show many people with hair loss also developed coarse hair.

6. Pain/Swelling of the Joints & Puffy Eyes

Fluid retention, especially in regard to the face, is very common. So is pain and swelling of the joints—with no good explanation for the pain.

7. Feeling Depressed & Lack Motivation

Hormone fluctuations in postpartum women can be linked to be a common cause of hypothyroidism, which could be a contributing factor to postpartum depression experienced in many women.

Whether depression is caused, magnified, or unrelated to the thyroid is serious and a good reason to seek help from a friend, therapist, physician, or practitioner. The practice of yoga and mindfulness are great ways to help increase feelings of well-being and give yourself time to relax and restore the busy mind from the overload of stress, chaos, and the never-ending to-do list.

8. Dry Skin

Skin cells have a short lifespan and are sensitive to losing growth signals from the thyroid. Skin problems and sensitivities can be attributed to many things, including the dangerous rise in thousands of new products with toxic ingredients hitting the market every year. For this reason, blood work is crucial in hormone testing and treatment, and could also help you rule out an ongoing skin problem.

9. Muscle Weakness

Catabolism is a condition where your body starts to break down vital body tissues, such as muscle, to provide more energy for the body. When your metabolism is slowed down enough, like with hypothyroidism, your body panics and adjusts by switching from metabolism to catabolism. This process can be painful and cause muscle aches while decreasing your overall sense of physical well-being.

10. Brain Fog

Mental fog and poor concentration are common side effects of hypothyroidism. It’s important to remember difficulty concentrating can be attributed to countless things and can happen to everyone at certain times with no medical reason. That being said, it is an important and common presentation of thyroid problems and should be addressed.

It is important to understand the signs and symptoms vary widely on severity, progressions, and specific type of thyroid issue you may have. The down-regulation of the thyroid can develop slowly over several years and may not always be noticeable.

Many people may attribute these symptoms to stress in their life or part of the “normal aging process.” Oftentimes, intervention and medication are necessary to correct the root cause of these symptoms.

What can You do?

If you or someone you know experience any of the symptoms listed above, don’t shrug it off and think the symptoms are “just the way it is.” This imbalance in the thyroid can be easily detected with a simple blood test looking at the entire hormone profile to ensure all levels are in perfect balance.

At OnePeak Medical, we offer comprehensive hormone testing and analysis of symptoms. With this information, our medical providers will create a treatment program aimed at fixing deficiencies and re-establishing the correct balance between hormones, thyroid, brain chemicals, gut health, and adrenal-stress glands, using the most natural and individualized approach possible.

It’s our mission to help you resolve nagging symptoms and to help you age better, with fewer age-related problems. We’re dedicated to helping you live your best life and creating a personalized plan just for you. Let us help you save precious time and energy by giving you the tools to change your life—and most likely the lives of those around you. Good luck on your journey to wellness wherever it may take you. The best is really yet to come!

Nisha Jackson is a nationally recognized hormone and functional medicine expert, lecturer, motivational speaker, radio host, columnist, author of “Brilliant Burnout” and founder of OnePeak Medical Clinics in Oregon. For 30 years, her approach to medicine has successfully reversed chronic problems such as fatigue, brain fog, depression, insomnia and lack of stamina.

This story was originally published in the OnePeak Medical Center’s Blog.

Nisha Jackson
Nisha Jackson is a nationally recognized hormone and functional medicine expert, lecturer, motivational speaker, radio host, columnist, author of “Brilliant Burnout” and founder of OnePeak Medical Clinics in Oregon. For 30 years, her approach to medicine has successfully reversed chronic problems such as fatigue, brain fog, depression, insomnia and lack of stamina.
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