Symptoms of your thyroid going haywire

Female thyroid gland  anatomy in X-ray view. photoS: ISTOCK
Female thyroid gland anatomy in X-ray view. photoS: ISTOCK

Are you losing too much weight, have irregular periods, or perhaps have hypertension?

While most people would probably respond to the above ailments by popping a pill or taking a seat at the dietician's office, the truth is that there may be something else at play that makes all those ailments flare up, and it is surprisingly relatively unknown.

You may be experiencing hyperthyroidism, a condition that sees your thyroid going haywire, making you experience symptoms such as trouble sleeping or having high blood pressure.

But what exactly is hyperthyroidism, and what causes it?

Dr Karen Mauerberger says that knowing the condition of your thyroid is very important so as not to misjudge its overactive symptoms as other ailments.

"The thyroid is a gland that is located in your neck. Its function in the body is massive in that its primary role is to produce the thyroid hormone which, among other things, is responsible for regulating your body's metabolism, your heartbeat, and your body temperature.

"So, when you have hyperthyroidism, one of the things that can happen is that your thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone, resulting in your body's functioning being disrupted.

"The danger with an overactive thyroid is that, because the thyroid regulates so many things in the body, its symptoms can usually go undetected or misdiagnosed.

"Most doctors often don't probe the problem in depth, and often rush to give the patients medication for whatever aches and pains they might be complaining about," she says.

Mauerberger adds that because of pregnancy, women are more likely to have hyperthyroidism, and some of the causes of hypothyroidism range from stress to genetics.

So how can one tell if you have hyperthyroidism?

Mauerberger says it's important to observe the following symptoms:

YOU ARE LOSING WEIGHT.

There are so many reasons for an unexplained weight loss that an overactive thyroid is likely to be the last thing people, and even doctors, look into.

People with hyperthyroidism may, despite eating more, still lose weight because of this condition.

YOU ARE LOSING YOUR HAIR

If your hair is breaking or falling out, it may be a sign of hyperthyroidism.

Too much thyroid hormone can send your hair growth cycle into a tailspin, resulting in your hair falling out.

YOU ARE VERY ANXIOUS

You find yourself having a difficult time relaxing and are often plagued by nerves and anxiety. This may be the result of being affected because of too much thyroid hormone affecting your metabolism, sending your nervous system into panic mode.

INSOMNIA

When you have hyperthyroidism, your pulse can be elevated. This, combined with anxiety, that is also a result of hyperthyroidism, can cause you to have difficulty getting any sleep.

YOU ARE HEAT SENSITIVE

Because one of the things that a thyroid regulates is your body temperature, a hike in thyroid hormones can see your body temperature disrupted, making you very sensitive to heat, and even sweating a lot more than normal. A sunny day may result in you overheating, when some people may not even find the day too hot.

ANY TIME IS TOILET TIME

An overactive thyroid can result in bowel problems, such as diarrhoea or an increase in how many times you go to relieve yourself.

Because of an increase in thyroid hormone, digestion can be elevated, resulting in more toilet visits.

IRREGULAR PERIODS

If you are finding that your periods are very light, shorter and even further apart, it may be a sign of hyperthyroidism.

If your periods are not as regular as you are accustomed to, you can have your doctor check you out for hyperthyroidism.

YOU ARE HAVING DIFFICULTY CONCEIVING

An overactive thyroid can disrupt your ovulation, which can result in difficulty getting pregnant. While there may be many causes for infertility problems, it would be helpful to rule out hyperthyroidism as a source.

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