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8 Warning Signs You May Have Thyroid Disease

By    |   Monday, 15 Dec 2014 08:48 PM

Thyroid disease symptoms can develop slowly but they will persist and increase over time. Many people miss the warning signs of thyroid disease and attribute their symptoms to fatigue, stress or perhaps a need to change their diet and exercise regime. However, the thyroid is a powerful gland that regulates everything from body temperature to metabolism and when it malfunctions it can have a drastic effect on overall health and well-being.

The American Thyroid Association states
, "More than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime." In addition, more than 20 million Americans already have thyroid disease and an estimated 60 percent of them are unaware they have the condition. Further, women are "five to eight times" more likely than men to develop thyroid disease.

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There are several types of thyroid disease. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid does not produce enough regulating hormones and hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid overproduces regulating hormones. Although it is rare, cancer of the thyroid can occur. WebMD lists the warning signs of thyroid cancer as a lump or swelling in the neck, pain in the neck and ears, trouble swallowing and breathing, wheezing, and hoarseness.

Here are four warning signs that you may have hypothyroidism:
1. Unexplained fatigue: Many life factors can contribute to fatigue and even exhaustion. However, when the thyroid does not produce enough hormones, even adequate sleep, nutrition, and stress management are not enough to keep energy levels at a normal level. "If the thyroid foundation is weak, sustaining energy output is difficult. You will notice you just don’t seem to have the energy to do the things you used to be able to do," says clinical nutritionist Byron J. Richards.

2. Digestion issues: Hypothyroidism can cause long-term constipation. Without enough thyroid hormone, many of the body's functions slow down including the digestive tract.

3. Unexplained weight gain: Diet and exercise are critical to maintain a healthy weight but a lack of thyroid hormone slows the metabolism significantly. Unexplained weight gain or an inability to lose weight under normal circumstances may be an indication of thyroid disease.

4. Impaired memory and depression: People with hypothyroidism often talk about "brain fog" and depression. "Clinically brain fog is defined as a subjective feeling of confusion and lack of mental clarity," says homeopath Dr. Ami Sha. This condition can exacerbate feelings of depression.
Here are four warning signs that you may have hyperthyroidism:
1. Nervous irritability: Psychology Today asks the question, "Anxiety disorder or hyperthyroidism?" Unexplained anxiety is a key warning sign of an overactive thyroid and prompted a study on "When a medical condition mimics a mental illness." This anxiety can also cause insomnia.

2. Digestion issues: Thyroid disease has a significant impact on digestion. One symptom of hyperthyroidism is increased bowel movements or irritable bowel syndrome.

3. Weight loss:
Too much thyroid hormone can cause unexplained weight loss and an inability to gain weight despite a healthy diet. The American Thyroid Association states, "If there is too much thyroid hormone, every function of the body tends to speed up."

4. Racing heartbeat and hand tremors:
Too much thyroid hormone can cause symptoms such as rapid heartbeat and "the jitters' in the form of shaking hands. These symptoms go hand in hand with anxiety and increased perspiration.
This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.

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Thyroid disease symptoms can develop slowly but they will persist and increase over time. Many people miss the warning signs of thyroid disease and attribute their symptoms to fatigue, stress, or perhaps a need to change their diet and exercise regime.
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