How can you tell if you have a thyroid problem?
Your thyroid is a gland in the neck that produces hormones responsible for regulating functions involved with metabolism. When it malfunctions, it could start overproducing (hyperthyroidism) or underproducing (hypothyroidism) needed hormones, resulting in a slew of unwanted side effects and threatening your health.
How can you tell if you have a thyroid problem? How does hyperthyroidism differ from hypothyroidism? How can patients in Waco treat these conditions to regain optimal health? Here are a few things everyone should know.
Signs and Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
First, you should know that women, in general, are more likely than men to suffer thyroid disorders – it is estimated that 1 in 8 women is affected by thyroid disorder, and onset is often linked to hormonal shifts during adolescence, pregnancy, or perimenopause. Although some symptoms may be mistaken for less serious concerns, several symptoms should be a warning sign that something more is wrong.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism, resulting in the overproduction of hormones, could include:
- Increased appetite
- Sudden weight loss
- Increased frequency of bowel movements
- Changes to menstrual cycle
- Muscle weakness and/or tremors
- Increased heat sensitivity or sweating
- Rapid heartbeat or palpitations
- Thin skin
- Brittle hair
- Swelling at the base of the neck (due to enlarged thyroid or nodules on thyroid)
Naturally, some of these symptoms are more troubling than others, and many could be linked to other health problems. If you persist in experiencing one or more symptoms, however, you should visit your Waco, Texas doctor to discuss concerns and ask about potential testing to diagnose thyroid disorder.
Signs and Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is the other side of the coin, resulting when your thyroid underproduces hormones. Symptoms of this condition could include:
- Tiring easily
- Feeling cold
- Dry skin
As with hyperthyroidism, it’s easy to write off some of these symptoms or attribute them to other potential causes, which is why diagnosis is so important. Typically, a blood test will be done to check hormone levels, and your Waco doctor may also want to check the size of your thyroid to see if it’s enlarged or if nodules are present, take your pulse, and look for signs like tremors in your hands. If results are unclear, further testing, like a radioactive iodine uptake (RIU) test, may be more revealing.
Other Thyroid Problems
Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism aren’t the only thyroid problems you might experience. In some cases, thyroid malfunction is linked to other conditions, like Hashimoto’s disease, Graves’ disease, and other autoimmune diseases. Thyroid problems may also be linked to nutrient deficiencies. Thyroid cancer is another potential problem.
Thyroid Treatment Options in and Around Waco, Texas
Because hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are distinct problems, they have very different treatments. When hormone production is high, you may need anti-thyroid medication, radioactive iodide treatment, or perhaps surgery to correct the issue. If hormone production is too low, hormone replacement therapy is often the best solution.