The thyroid is a small and very important butterfly-shaped gland in your neck. It produces hormones to every cell in the body. The reason the thyroid is so important is that you have 40 trillion cells in your body and every one of those cells has thyroid hormone receptors that help regulate metabolism and energy for that cell to function optimally. Think of your thyroid as the gas pedal on your car.
Approximately 20 million Americans have thyroid disease and 12 million are not aware they even have a problem. Women are 5-8 times more likely than men to suffer from thyroid disease. Some studies show that at least half of people over 50 years old have some kind of thyroid abnormality. People can have too little thyroid hormone, too much thyroid hormone, enlargement of the thyroid (goiter), nodules on the thyroid, and even thyroid cancer.
These are the Top 10 Most Common Complaints of People with Thyroid Disorders.
- Waking up dragging and tired after a good night’s sleep. Too little thyroid hormone can lead to fatigue and lack of energy whereas too much thyroid hormone can make you feel jittery and wide awake causing insomnia and problems falling or staying asleep.
- Do you feel like your brain is always foggy? Cognitive changes, poor memory, irritability, depression or other mood changes can all be signs of problems with your thyroid.
- Have you gained weight but haven’t changed your diet? Your metabolism has slowed and you have a hard time losing weight even though you are eating less than usual.
- Bowel changes. Constipation can indicate that your gastric motility, how quickly food moves through the digestive system, has slowed because of low thyroid hormone.
- Changes in hair and nails. You are losing more hair than usual and it has become dry, brittle, and breaks easily. Hair may be thinning on the scalp and eyebrows and bald patches may even develop. Nails become brittle and have ridges in them.
- Your feet (and hands) are frequently cold when others around you are not. If you always have cold hands and feet in Tampa, you really need to get that checked out!
- Eye Changes. Swollen, puffy eyes, dry eyes and vision changes can indicate thyroid problems.
- Heart rate changes, slow beats or very fast heart rate or a feeling of heart palpitations (skipping beats).
- Joint pain or muscle cramps.
- Difficulty swallowing or changes in voice.
Proper thyroid function is crucial for all of the organs in our body to function normally. Left untreated, thyroid disease can lead to more health problems including heart disease, obesity, and osteoporosis. It’s important to know the symptoms and get the right treatment to help your body get back on track so you can feel your best!
Stay well, Heather
Heather Slusher, APRN, FNP-BC, is a Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner with more than 30 years experience in Family Practice, Women’s Health, and Anti-Aging Medicine. She is the founder and owner of SunCoast Optimal Wellness in the MiraBay Shopping Plaza. Her passion is providing a customized healthcare to help each person live their best life!
Information contained herein is based on medical research and data and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any concerns you have regarding your medical conditions.