9 Crazy Symptoms That Could Signal A Serious Thyroid Problem
12 months ago, 1 Jan 17:50
Sometimes it seems appropriate to amend Murphy's Law to "Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong—and it's probably your thyroid's fault." It may be small, but that butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your throat has a pretty lofty to-do list—like regulating your appetite, energy levels, and even your body temperature. When it's working correctly, we barely even notice it (unless you're the hypochondriac writer of this article), but when it starts to malfunction, the symptoms are varied and hard to ignore. But before we dive right into all the different things thyroid symptoms can affect, a refresher course is in order: The thyroid is the largest endocrine gland in the body and produces two types of hormones—T3 and T4—that control the rate at which your body burns energy and responds to stress hormones, says R. Mack Harrell, MD, past president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. There are a few ways that this gland can malfunction—two of which are hyperthyroidism (excessive hormone production) and hypothyroidism (low hormone production). Here are 9 surprising things that your thyroid can affect. "The thyroid controls the rate at which you shed your skin," Harrell says. In those with an overactive thyroid, skin sheds a little faster, often resulting in smoother but thinner skin. An underactive thyroid slows down skin cell turnover, making skin feel rougher. Other skin issues that can result from hyperthyroidism include skin that feels moist or warm, and increased redness of the face and hands, while those with hypothyroidism may experience skin that feels cold and pale, wounds that take longer to heal, and an orange-yellow tint to the skin caused by carotenaemia (the thyroid's failure to convert carotene to vitamin A). News flash: An underactive thyroid won't result in major weight gain. "A 100-pound weight gain is always caused by something more than hypothyroidism, where the average weight gain is less than 5 pounds," Harrell says. On the other hand, hyperthyroidism can result in a substantial weight loss (though Harrell warns it's not a safe way to lose extra pounds). But weight gain and weight loss aren't written in stone with an under- or overactive thyroid since the hormone also regulates appetite. While hyperthyroidism is associated with weight loss, it's also associated with an increased appetite, so despite a faster metabolism, you could actually gain weight by eating too much. The same goes for hypothyroidism, which is associated with weight gain and a decreased appetite, so while your metabolism slows way down, you also lack the desire to eat, which could force you to drop pounds. You're probably catching on by now—hyperthyroidism (or an overactive thyroid) speeds up your normal body processes, giving you a higher metabolic rate. And since you're burning energy faster, you'll feel hot. "People with hyperthyroidism can wake up sweating at night because of the increased energy burn with a rapid heartbeat," Harrell says. On the flip side, hypothyroidism could make you reach for an extra sweatshirt since your body's metabolic rate has slowed down, making ...
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