The thyroid is one of the endocrine glands, which produces the hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and tetraiodothyronine (T4). The gland is butterfly-shaped and is located in the neck, just above the collar bone. It controls the rate of many activities in your body like metabolic activity, growth rate and maturation. Thyroid problems occur when the hormones are under-secreted or over-secreted. When there is more production of thyroid hormone, the condition is called hyperthyroidism. When there is insufficient hormone production, it leads to hypothyroidism.
Signs and symptoms of thyroid disease
The common signs and symptoms include:
Weight gain or loss: This is one of the most common symptoms of thyroid disease. Your clothes may become tighter than usual without any changes in your eating or exercise habits. You may feel you have gained weight. Sometimes you notice unexplained weight loss. The change occurs when the thyroid activity is lower or higher than normal.
Swelling in the neck: A swelling or enlargement of the neck indicates that something is wrong with your thyroid.
Change in heart rate: Thyroid hormones affect almost every organ in the body including the heart. You may have a pounding heart rate or increased heart rate in hyperthyroidism. On the contrary, your beat may slow down if you have hypothyroidism.
Changes in mood: If you feel tired and sluggish, then it is probably linked to hypothyroidism. Unusual depression or sadness is also a symptom of hypothyroidism. The production of too little thyroid hormone leads to this condition.
Thinning of the hair: Hair loss is one of the signs of thyroid disorder. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause hair to fall. There will be regrowth of the hair once the thyroid disorder is treated.
Feeling too cold or hot: Thyroid disorder disrupts the ability to regulate body temperature. If you have hypothyroidism, then you may feel colder than usual. If you have excessive sweating, then maybe due to hyperthyroidism.
Alteration of taste buds and appetite: Increased appetite is the sign of hyperthyroidism. When there is too much production of thyroid hormone, you may feel hungry all the time, and this results in weight gain.
Brain fog: Your brain feels fuzzy, you may not be able to concentrate even on small things and may also become more forgetful.
Fluttery feeling: You may have a fluttery feeling like your heart is skipping one or two beats, or beating too hard or too quick. You may notice this feeling in your chest or at pulse points in your throat or neck.
Dry skin: Your skin may get dry and itchy. The change in texture and appearance of the skin is due to slow metabolism. In the same way, your nails also become brittle and may develop ridges.
Changes in bowel habits: Thyroid hormone plays an important role in keeping your digestive system in good condition. Due to hypothyroidism, you may develop constipation. With hyperthyroidism, you may experience frequent bowel movements but not diarrhoea.
Disturbances in the menstrual cycle: You may have disturbances in the menstrual cycle if you have thyroid problems. You may have longer menstrual periods with a heavier flow, and may also experience cramps.
Pain in the extremities or muscles: It is normal to have pain near the toe if you have worked too hard. But if you experience sudden tingling sensation or numbness or actual pain in your arm, legs, feet, or hands it can be due to hypothyroidism.
Sleep disturbances: If in the past, you always had a good sleep, but suddenly now you are unable to snooze then it could be a sign of a thyroid problem.
Reduced chances of being pregnant: When you have a thyroid disorder, you may face trouble in getting pregnant. Thyroid disorders are also linked to pregnancy related complications.
Elevated levels of cholesterol: When you have a thyroid problem, you will have increased levels of cholesterol. When the thyroid is untreated, it can lead to heart problems including heart failure.
Common conditions of thyroid gland
When the cells of the thyroid gland become cancerous, it leads to thyroid cancer.
Signs and symptoms
- Lump or nodule in your neck
- Hoarse voice
- Swelling of the neck along with pain
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Persistent cough
The thyroid nodule is formed due to the swelling of one section of the thyroid gland. It may be hard or filled with fluid or blood. It is more common in women than in men.
Signs and symptoms
- Swelling at the base of the neck
- Difficulty to swallow food and water
- Shortness of breath
An unusual enlargement of the thyroid gland leads to goitre. It is more common in women than in men, especially before menopause.
Signs and symptoms
- Swelling of the neck
- Lump formation in the neck
- Tight feeling in your throat
- Increase in heart rate
- Weight gain
- Problems with breathing or swallowing
Thyroiditis is the inflammation of the thyroid gland. It occurs when the body’s immune system produces antibiotics that attack the thyroid gland. The initial signs and symptoms are similar to hyperthyroidism due to the leakage of excess hormones. Over a period, the thyroid gland gets damaged, and the hormonal production gets impaired. This produces symptoms similar to hypothyroidism.