Weak Nails And Thinning Hair
Your hair and nails are constantly growing. One important function of the thyroid gland is sending hormone signals to trigger hair and nail growth. With hyperthyroidism, the extra hormones tell your body to increase the growth of your hair follicles and nails in a shorter period of time. While it would seem that your nails growing fast would be a positive side effect of thyroid dysfunction, that isnt the case. This forced growth is too fast. As a result, your body has to stretch its natural resources, which can lead to thin and brittle hair and nails.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hyperthyroidism
The symptoms of hyperthyroidism can vary from person to person and may include
- Nervousness or irritability
- Imaging tests, such as a thyroid scan, ultrasound, or radioactive iodine uptake test. A radioactive iodine uptake test measures how much radioactive iodine your thyroid takes up from your blood after you swallow a small amount of it.
Symptoms Of Thyroid Disease In Children
While thyroid disease most often develops during adulthood, it can occur in infants, children, and teenagers as well. The symptoms of thyroid disease in children may be hard to recognize because manychanges in appetite, sleep patterns, emotions, and energy levelsare all also experienced as part of normal development during these years.
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Enlarged Thyroid Vs Painful Thyroid
It’s important to differentiate between an enlarged thyroid gland and a painful thyroid gland.
This one single symptom is unique to very few conditions and can easily help you figure out a diagnosis.
Your thyroid gland is an organ and is susceptible to inflammation and infection, just like other parts of your body.
This condition occurs very rarely, however, because for the most part your thyroid is protected from the rest of your body.
This is one of the very few conditions which cause pain in the thyroid gland when touching it.
Subacute thyroiditis can also result in an enlargement of the thyroid gland but it’s almost always associated with pain.
This pain is important because it can easily help differentiate other, more serious, conditions which cause an enlargement of your thyroid gland.
Goitres And Production Of Thyroid Hormones
- In many people with a goitre, the goitre does not affect the amount of thyroid hormones that you make. You are then euthyroid, which means you make the correct amount of these hormones.
- In some people, the goitre is associated with an abnormality of thyroid function. You may make too much thyroid hormone or too little . This can be shown with a simple blood test of your thyroid function. See the separate leaflet called Thyroid Function Tests.
Note: you can also develop an overactive or underactive thyroid without having a goitre.
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Imaging And Evaluating Your Thyroid
Ultrasound is a nearly painless procedure which allows radiologists to look at the size, shape, texture and other characteristics of your thyroid gland.
Because the thyroid gland is near to the surface of your skin it can easily be assessed with this type of imaging.
Doctors are often taught that the only way to hurt someone with an ultrasound is by throwing the machine at them.
Ultrasound is very important if you have an enlarged thyroid because it can further help to diagnose what exactly you are dealing with.
If you have a single large thyroid nodule, ultrasound can pick up that nodule and give information regarding the size, shape, and consistency of the nodule.
This information can help to determine if the nodule is benign ) or potentially cancerous and also help determine if you need a biopsy.
Other conditions which cause thyroid enlargement may be consistent and make your thyroid look “irregularly inconsistent” throughout the entire gland.
Conditions which cause this type of pattern tend to result in inflammation of the entire gland or may be caused by nutrient deficiencies such as iodine deficiency.
In addition to ultrasound testing, there are other ways to check your thyroid gland such as uptake tests or CT scans .
Signs And Symptoms Of Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer can cause any of the following signs or symptoms:
- A lump in the neck, sometimes growing quickly
- Swelling in the neck
- Pain in the front of the neck, sometimes going up to the ears
- Hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away
- Trouble swallowing
- Trouble breathing
- A constant cough that is not due to a cold
If you have any of these signs or symptoms, talk to your doctor right away. Many of these symptoms can also be caused by non-cancerous conditions or even other cancers of the neck area. Lumps in the thyroid are common and are usually benign. Still, if you have any of these symptoms, its important to see your doctor so the cause can be found and treated, if needed.
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
Davidge-Pitts CJ and Thompson GB. Chapter 82: Thyroid Tumors. In: DeVita VT, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA, eds. DeVita, Hellman, and RosenbergsCancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 2015.
National Cancer Institute. Physician Data Query . Thyroid Cancer Treatment. 05/23/2018. Accessed at https://www.cancer.gov/types/thyroid/patient/thyroid-treatment-pdq#_1. on February 20, 2019.
Last Revised: March 14, 2019
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What Is A Swollen Thyroid
Anatomically speaking, the thyroid gland, located at the front portion of the neck, is part of the endocrine body system. A swollen thyroid or medically termed as goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland. Furthermore, people who suffer from a swollen thyroid are occasionally battling against hypothyroidism. However, there are actually a lot of reasons which cause the thyroid gland to swell. These reasons will be explained later in the discussion on the causes for a swollen thyroid.
Feel The Bumps And Enlargements
Gently touch the area around your thyroid gland to try to palpate any enlargement, bumps, or protrusions. To differentiate between the thyroid and the other structures of your neck:
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How Is Thyroiditis Treated
How thyroiditis is treated depends on the type, symptoms, and phase of thyroiditis.
- Thyrotoxic phase: Usually temporary, it will eventually either recover and go to the euthyroid phase, or go to the hypothyroid phase. This hypothyroid phase could be temporary or permanent. It may not be necessary to treat symptoms in subacute, painless, or post-partum thyroiditis. During the thyrotoxic phase, treatment is symptomatic. Antithyroid medications are rarely needed.
- Palpitations/anxiety/tremors/heat intolerance/increased sweating: These symptoms are treated with beta blockers.
- Thyroidal pain: The pain can usually be managed with anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen. If the pain is severe enough, steroid therapy may be required .
- In other forms, treating the infection will be necessary to eliminate acute thyroiditis. Drug-induced thyroiditis generally lasts as long as the drugs are taken.
- Hypothyroid phase: If necessary, thyroid hormone replacement therapy is used to treat hypothyroidism. This type of therapy usually continues for 6 to 12 months. Hashimotos thyroiditis usually causes permanent hypothyroidism and requires continued treatment.
Signs And Symptoms Your Thyroid Medication Is Too Low
First things first, let’s talk about how to know if your thyroid medication is working or not.
It’s actually quite simple and once I explain it to you, it will make a lot of sense.
How do you know if your thyroid medication is high enough?
Well, if it is high enough then you will experience NONE of the symptoms of having a low thyroid.
So if you are experiencing ANY remaining low thyroid symptoms then you know right away that your thyroid medication is off.
These symptoms include:
- Continued dry skin
You’ll notice that I used the term “continued” in the description list and this was by design.
Because the symptoms of low thyroid present with these exact symptoms.
And if your symptoms did NOT go away when you started your thyroid medication then you know that your meds aren’t working.
If you are experiencing ANY of these symptoms AFTER you start taking your thyroid medication then you need to look at the reasons listed below.
Causes: Pituitary Gland Problems
Thyroid disease may begin in the pituitary gland. The pituitary is located at the base of your brain. It controls the functions of many other glands in the body, including the thyroid. This gland produces TSH, which signals the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormones.
If there is a problem with your pituitary and not enough TSH is produced, thyroid problems can result. Inflammation of the thyroid and taking certain medications can also cause low thyroid hormone levels.
Thyroid Disease And Endocrine Dysfunction
The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland. Thyroid disease can occur along with other endocrine conditions, such as diabetes, pituitary tumors, and adrenal tumors. Similarly, if your child has another endocrine condition, he will also likely be tested for thyroid disease as well.
Sometimes, people who have a thyroid tumor may also have other endocrine tumors, a hereditary condition described as multiple endocrine neoplasia .
Symptoms and signs of thyroid disease combined with other endocrine conditions include:
- Hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia
- Hypertension or hypotension
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Hypothyroidism Diagnosis And Treatment
Your doctor will perform blood tests to measure your TSH and thyroid hormone levels. A high TSH level and low thyroxine level could mean that your thyroid is underactive. These levels could also indicate that your pituitary gland is releasing more TSH to try to stimulate the thyroid gland to make its hormone.
The main treatment for hypothyroidism is to take thyroid hormone pills. Its important to get the dose right, because taking too much thyroid hormone can cause symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
What Are The Treatments For Hyperthyroidism
The treatments for hyperthyroidism include medicines, radioiodine therapy, and thyroid surgery:
- Medicines for hyperthyroidism include
- Antithyroid medicines, which cause your thyroid to make less thyroid hormone. You probably need to take the medicines for 1 to 2 years. In some cases, you might need to take the medicines for several years. This is the simplest treatment, but it is often not a permanent cure.
- Beta blocker medicines, which can reduce symptoms such as tremors, rapid heartbeat, and nervousness. They work quickly and can help you feel better until other treatments take effect.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism
Symptoms of hypothyroidism develop slowly, often over several years. At first, you may feel tired and sluggish. Later, you may develop other signs and symptoms of a slowed-down metabolism, including:
- Feeling cold when other people do not
- A hoarse voice
- More than usual menstrual bleeding
You also may have high LDL or “bad” cholesterol, which can raise your risk for .
Signs And Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism
Thyroid disorders are common. In fact, about 12% of people will experience abnormal thyroid function at some point during their lives.
Women are eight times more likely to develop a thyroid disorder than men. Also, thyroid problems increase with age and may affect adults differently than children.
At the most basic level, thyroid hormone is responsible for coordinating energy, growth and metabolism in your body.
Problems can occur when this hormones levels are too high or low.
Hypothyroidism, or low levels of thyroid hormone, slows your metabolism and decreases growth or repair of many parts of the body.
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What Are Early Warning Signs Of Thyroid Problems 15 Signs It May Be Time To Get Thyroid Testing
At the Medical Transformation Center in Louisville, Kentucky, we know that thyroid disorders are common, and we offer thyroid testing to help combat the concern. Statistically, about 12% of people will experience some form of thyroid disorder in their life, and getting it treated is the key to feeling like yourself again. Knowing the early signs of thyroid problems could be a great help to treat it.
Is It Menopause Or Thyroid Disorder
Thyroid disorders can cause symptoms that are mistaken for those of a woman approaching menopause. Both menstrual cycle changes and mood changes can result from the menopausal transition or from thyroid conditions. Blood tests can determine which of these conditions is responsible for your symptoms. It’s also possible to have a combination of the two causes.
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How Is Hyperthyroidism Diagnosed
Contact your doctor if you have symptoms of an overactive thyroid. He or she will check for an enlarged thyroid gland, rapid pulse, moist skin, eye changes, and a slight tremor in your fingers or hand. Your doctor also will do a blood test to measure the amount of thyroid hormone in your blood. This confirms the diagnosis.
Your doctor may do a thyroid scan to find the cause. If your entire thyroid is affected, you have Graves disease. Or the doctor will look for thyroid nodules or an inflammation.
Your doctor also may do a radioactive iodine uptake test. This test measures your thyroids ability to take up iodine. A high uptake of iodine means your thyroid gland may be producing too much hormone. This indicates Graves disease or a hyperfunctioning thyroid nodule. A low uptake of iodine indicates thyroiditis as the cause.
How Does Thyroid Disease Affect Pregnancy
Pregnancy-related hormones raise the level of thyroid hormones in the blood. Thyroid hormones are necessary for the baby’s brain development while in the womb.
It can be harder to diagnose thyroid problems during pregnancy because of the change in hormone levels that normally happen during pregnancy. But it is especially important to check for problems before getting pregnant and during pregnancy. Uncontrolled hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can cause problems for both mother and baby.
Hyperthyroidism that is not treated with medicine during pregnancy can cause:
- Premature birth
- a serious condition starting after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Preeclampsia causes high blood pressure and problems with the kidneys and other organs. The only cure for preeclampsia is childbirth.
- Thyroid storm
- Fast heart rate in the newborn, which can lead to heart failure, poor weight gain, or an enlarged thyroid that can make it hard to breathe
- Low birth weight
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Weakness And Aches In Muscles And Joints
Low thyroid hormone flips the metabolic switch toward catabolism, which is when the body breaks down body tissues like muscle for energy .
During catabolism, muscle strength decreases, potentially leading to feelings of weakness. The process of breaking down muscle tissue can also lead to aching .
Everyone feels weak once in a while. However, people with hypothyroidism are twice as likely to feel more weak than usual, compared to healthy people (
One study in 35 individuals with hypothyroidism showed that replacing low levels of thyroid hormone with a synthetic thyroid hormone called levothyroxine improved muscle strength and decreased aches and pains, compared to no treatment .
Another study showed a 25% improvement in the sense of physical well-being among patients receiving thyroid replacement .
Weakness and aches are normal following strenuous activity. However, new, and especially increasing, weakness or aching is a good reason to make an appointment with your physician.
Summary: Low levels of thyroid hormone slow down your metabolism and can cause painful muscle breakdown.
How To Check Your Thyroid
This article was medically reviewed by Ricardo Correa, MD. Dr. Correa is a board certified Endocrinologist. Dr. Correa is the Program Director of the Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism Fellowship at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and was a previous Assistant Professor of Medicine at Brown University. He completed his MD at the University of Panama and completed an internal medicine residency at the Jackson Memorial Hospital – University of Miami. He has been voted one of the 40 Under 40 Leaders in Health by the National Minority Quality Forum in 2019.There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 40,747 times.
The thyroid gland is located at the base of your neck. It is a very important gland that produces a hormone that helps regulate your entire bodys metabolism, temperature, heart rate, growth, and development.XResearch source The thyroid gland can be functionally underactive or overactive. The thyroid can be enlarged, have benign nodules and, more rarely, malignant nodules.
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