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How To Tell If My Thyroid Is Underactive

These Questions Guide You Through Common Signs Symptoms And Other Key Factors Used To Diagnose An Underactive Thyroid

How do you know if you have an underactive thyroid?

Signs and symptoms experienced;by people with an underactive thyroid are very common and could suggest hypothyroidism but are;associated with many conditions or may mean nothing of concern. More importantly,; blood tests to evaluate the thyroid function are assessed when the doctor believes there is cause to check for an underactive thyroid. All of these factors, as well as your personal and family medical history, will be considered in determining the cause and severity of hypothyroidism.;

This quiz is intended to be informational. Only your doctor can make an accurate diagnosis after a thorough review of your health status.

American Thyroid Association. Prevalence and Impact of Thyroid Disease. Available at Accessed on January 18, 2019.

National Institutes of Health. Hypothyroidism . Available at: Accessed on January 18, 2019.

Follow Up With Your Doctor

If you find lumps or protrusions of any sort, you should definitely let your doctor know. You may have an enlarged thyroid or a thyroid nodule that requires further evaluation. Follow up diagnostic tests may include an ultrasound, blood hormone tests, or a computerized tomography scan.

Finding a thyroid nodule does not mean you have cancer. In fact, a 2018 study published in Academic Radiology concluded that only around 8% of thyroid nodules are ever cancerous.

Thyroid Disease Doctor Discussion Guide

Get our printable guide for your next doctor’s appointment to help you ask the right questions.

Common Signs Of Thyroid Disease In Children

The thyroid gland which is located at the front of the neck near the clavicles is responsible for the rate of all metabolic and chemical processes in our body, in every cell, tissue and organ. Thyroid gland disorders consequently have a profound effect upon the human body. When the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone , the condition is called;hyperthyroidism. When the thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone , the condition is called;hypothyroidism. Thyroid problems can occur at any age; infants can even be born with a thyroid problem!According to;the American Diabetes Association and the Pediatric Endocrine Society, parents should look for the following symptoms that may indicate problems with their childs thyroid.

Signs of hyperthyroidism can include:

  • Feeling jumpy including trembling hands and trouble concentrating
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Big appetite along with weight loss
  • Wide eyed stare including possible eyes bulging out
  • Other problems can include fainting and looser stool
  • The most common cause of hyperthyroidism in children and adolescents is an autoimmune condition called Graves disease which causes the body to produce antibodies that stimulate the thyroid gland uncontrollably, making too much thyroid hormone.;

    Signs of hypothyroidism can include:

  • Weight gain without increased appetite
  • Constipation or harder stool less often
  • Other problems can include brittle hair and dry skin
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    Memory Loss And Brain Fog Is A Sign Of Hypothyroidism

    The brain is a major target organ for thyroid hormones.;This is why the onset of hypothyroidism can affect brain function.

    Clinical trials and functional imaging studies of the brain confirm that advanced hypothyroidism is associated with cognitive decline- largely reversible with treatment .

    In contrast, subclinical hypothyroidism is not linked with major neuropsychiatric problems, although studies show small deficits in memory and executive function do occur. This is most often described by patients as experiencing brain fog.

    Hypothyroidism Is The Most Common Thyroid Disorder

    9 Signs Of Thyroid Problems

    The thyroid does a lot for your body. It makes hormones that keep organs running properly. It also controls the way you use energy: for example, how you burn calories and how fast your heart beats.;

    But sometimes this powerful gland doesn’t work like it’s supposed to.;

    One common thyroid condition, called hyperthyroidism, causes the thyroid to make more hormones than the;body needs.;

    But the most common thyroid disorder is hypothyroidism, which affects about 4.6% of people in the U.S. This condition causes a lack of hormone, which leads the thyroid to slow down. People with hypothyroidism often gain weight and feel tired, but some may not have any symptoms at all.

    Also Check: What Organ System Is The Thyroid Gland In

    Do You Have Hypothyroidism Look At Your Hands

    Our fingernails say;so much about our health. It is mind-blowing when you look at the references listed at the bottom of this article the number of conditions of the nails;associated with hypothyroidism including Alunula , Onychorrhexis , Beaus Lines , Koilonychia , Onycholysis , Pterygium Unguis , Onychomycosis , Yellow Nail Syndrome, brittleness, slow;growth, and thickening.

    I first heard Dr. Peter Osborne describe the following common symptoms of hypothyroidism he notices;in his patients nails and it got my mind racing. I dove into studies and books to figure out how low thyroid can affect even our nails. What the heck! Not even one part of our body is safe from hypothyroidism.

    You Probably Don’t Have It

    You may well have a number of symptoms connected with thyroid disease, but according to the British Thyroid Foundation in the UK only 5% of people have the condition.

    The issue with the disease is that many related symptoms are more likely to have a different cause.

    “Usually, with all the various symptoms, thyroid is towards the bottom of the list of possible causes,” explains Khoo. “In fact, the vast majority of people who believe they have an underactive thyroid because of something they’ve read on the internet won’t have the condition.”

    The only conclusive test for this condition is a blood test, so if you are concerned, speak with your GP to see whether your symptoms warrant additional investigation.

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    Is Hypothyroidism During Pregnancy A Problem

    Left untreated, hypothyroidism during pregnancy;can affect both mother and baby. However, thyroid medicines can help prevent problems and are safe to take during pregnancy. Many women taking thyroid hormone medicine need a higher dose during pregnancy, so contact your doctor right away if you find out youre pregnant.

    How To Check Your Thyroid

    How to know if you have a thyroid problem

    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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    How Are Thyroid Diseases Diagnosed

    It can be hard to tell if you have a thyroid disease. The symptoms are the same as many other health problems. Your doctor may start by asking about your health history and if any of your family members has had thyroid disease. Your doctor may also give you a physical exam and check your neck for thyroid nodules.

    Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may also do other tests, such as:

    • Blood tests. Testing the level of thyroid stimulating hormone in your blood can help your doctor figure out if your thyroid is overactive or underactive. TSH tells your thyroid to make thyroid hormones. Depending on the results, your doctor might do another blood test to check levels of one or both thyroid hormones in your blood.
    • Radioactive iodine uptake test. For this test, you swallow a liquid or capsule that holds a small dose of radioactive iodine . The radioiodine collects in your thyroid because your thyroid uses iodine to make thyroid hormone.

    High levels of radioiodine mean that your thyroid makes too much of the thyroid hormone. Low levels mean that your thyroid does not make enough thyroid hormone.

  • Thyroid ultrasound. The thyroid ultrasound uses sound waves to make a picture of the thyroid on a computer screen. This test can help your doctor tell what type of nodule you have and how large it is. You may need more thyroid ultrasounds over time to see if your nodule is growing or shrinking.
  • How To Tell If Your Hypothyroidism Is Hashimoto’s

    Posted by Rommel Geronimo on

    Your doctor says you have hypothyroidism and this explains feeling like crap, the crazy weight gain, and your distressing hair loss. But how do you know if Hashimotos is causing your hypothyroidism? Hashimotos is an autoimmune disease, meaning the immune system is attacking and destroying the thyroid gland.

    Hashimotos is responsible for more than 90 percent of hypothyroid cases. Chances are strong its the cause of your low thyroid function too.

    But if your doctor does not want to screen for Hashimotos or if you would like to be sure, here are some tips to help you figure out if you have Hashimotos hypothyroidism.

    Recommended Reading: What Are Early Warning Signs Of Thyroid Cancer?

    Simple Test Straightforward Treatment

    The good news: Most thyroid problems are easy to diagnose with a simple blood test that measures your level of thyroid hormone. “The test is very reliable and very sensitive,” says Hor.

    Treatments are often very straightforward as well. Hypothyroidism is frequently treated with an inexpensive synthetic thyroid hormone that’s taken orally and is usually very well tolerated.

    Hyperthyroidism treatments are more varied but might include 12 to 18 months of an oral medication or a one-time dose of radioactive iodine .

    Bottom line: “If youre feeling fine and your weight is stable, there’s no need to get checked,” says Hor. “But if you notice one or more of these symptoms, or if you have a family history of thyroid dysfunction, ask your primary care doctor whether you should be tested.”

    Feeling Down Or Depressed

    Thyroid Function Problems And Symptoms

    Hypothyroidism is linked to depression. The reasons for this are unclear, but it might be a mental symptom of an overall decrease in energy and health .

    64% of women and 57% of men with hypothyroidism report feelings of depression. About the same percentage of men and women also experience anxiety .

    In one study, thyroid hormone replacement improved depression in patients with mild hypothyroidism, compared to a placebo .

    Another study of young women with mild hypothyroidism showed increased feelings of depression, which were also connected to decreased satisfaction with their sex lives (

    21 ).

    Feeling depressed is a good reason to talk to a physician or therapist. They may be able to help you cope, regardless of whether the depression is caused by thyroid problems or something else.

    Summary: Hypothyroidism can cause depression and anxiety. These conditions are shown to improve with thyroid hormone replacement.

    Also Check: How Long Can You Have Thyroid Cancer Without Knowing

    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.

    The Difference Between Underactive And Overactive Thyroid

      Your thyroid gland is vital to every cell in your body. It tells your organs and systems how fast or slow to work. It uses two hormones to do thisT4 and T3. And it knows how much of these hormones to make through directions from the pituitary gland.

      The pituitary gland monitors the level of thyroid hormones. When levels fall too low, it makes TSH . TSH does just what it saysit stimulates the thyroid gland to make hormones. But when levels of thyroid hormone are too high, the pituitary stops making TSH. This tells the thyroid gland to stop making hormones. Its a delicate balance. When the system doesnt work, you have thyroid problems.

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      When To See Your Gp

      Symptoms of an underactive thyroid;are often similar to those of other conditions,;and they;usually develop slowly, so you may not notice them for years.

      You should see your GP and ask to be tested for an underactive thyroid if you have;symptoms including:

      • tiredness
      • being sensitive to;the cold
      • dry skin and hair
      • muscle aches

      The only accurate way of finding out whether you have a thyroid problem is to have;a;thyroid function test, where a sample of blood is tested to measure your;hormone levels.

      Read;more about testing for an underactive thyroid

      Underactive Thyroid Sign: Your Mood Is Off

      Thyroid Problems- How Do You Know If You Have A Thyroid Problem?

      Physical symptoms arent the only signs to watch out for. The slowing of your metabolism with can affect your cognition, too, which can result in symptoms of depression, loss of ambition, and even forgetfulness or issues with memory or alertness.

      The mechanism behind hypothyroidism and its affects on your brain arent exactly clear, says Dr. Adimoolam, but studies have given us a couple theories as to what can be driving the relationship. Its possible that hypothyroidism can lead to decreased blood flow in the brain, potentially causing cognition issues.

      The science is much clearer on depression and hypothyroidism. Your bodys adrenal glands, located at the top of each kidney, produce hormones we cant live without, including sex hormones and cortisolthe infamous stress hormone.

      The adrenal steroid gland is what we depend on for energy, Dr. Wartofsky says. When your adrenal glands are hypothyroid, so to speak, they are sluggish. You get low levels of energy, your brain function is low, your body temperature is low, and there is a tendency for depression.

      Just like weight gain, the more severe your hypothyroidism, the more pronounced the effects on depression can be, says Dr. Wartofsky.

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      What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Thyroid Nodules

      Most thyroid nodules do not cause symptoms and are not cancerous. Some thyroid nodules make too much thyroid hormone, causing hyperthyroidism. Sometimes, nodules grow so big that they cause problems with swallowing or breathing. About one-third of nodules are found by the patient, another third by the doctor, and the other third through an imaging test of the neck.

      You can sometimes see or feel a thyroid nodule yourself. Stand in front of a mirror and raise your chin slightly. Look for a bump on either side of your windpipe below your Adam’s apple. If the bump moves up and down when you swallow, it may be a thyroid nodule. Ask your doctor to look at it.

      When To Call A Doctor

      In most cases, problems with your thyroid arent an emergency. If you feel you have some of the symptoms above, you can simply make an appointment with your doctor to discuss testing and treatment options. However, you should call your doctor immediately if:

      • Youre very drowsy, cold, and lethargic. This could be the start of a myxedema coma, which is caused by hypothyroidism that eventually leads to unconsciousness and in some cases death.
      • You have a rapid pulse, accompanied by a fever, agitation, or delirium.; This can indicate thyrotoxic crisis, a complication of hyperthyroidism.

      Its not always easy to know if you have a problem with your thyroid. Knowing some of the common symptoms of an underactive or overactive thyroid will help give you an idea of you need to talk to your doctor.

      Talk with your primary care provider about testing and treatment of thyroid issues. They may refer you to an endocrinologist or thyroid specialist for follow-up care.

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      High Ldl Cholesterol Levels Could Be A Warning Sign

      An increase in LDL particle number is a known risk factor for heart disease.

      Thyroid hormones are known to affect the heart and blood vessels, and the weight of evidence suggests hypothyroidism is associated with modest increases in LDL bad cholesterol, Apo-B levels and triglycerides .

      There are several proposed mechanisms behind this link, but just how influential hypothyroidism is on heart disease risk in the long-run is not well understood and potentially exaggerated . There are so many other lifestyle factors that influence these heart health markers.

      For this reason I dont consider high LDL on its own as a strong indicator of hypothyroidism.

      How Does Thyroid Disease Affect Pregnancy

      Do you have symptoms of an underactive thyroid but a ...

      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
      • Miscarriage

      Read Also: How Long Can You Have Thyroid Cancer Without Knowing

      It Is Vital To Communicate Your Issues With Your Doctor There Are Several Options To Consider That Have Helped Many Of Our Patients Here Are 6 Things That You Can Do To Optimize Your Thyroid Function

    • Get the following lab testing TSH T4, T3, TPO Ab, TGB, Ab, Free T3.
    • Optimize your diet by eliminating gluten, soy, and dairy. ;Eat lots of vegetables, pastured meats, wild fish, healthy fats. ;Keep the fruit intake as low as possible.
    • Reduce inflammatory and stressful behaviours. ;Be sure to get plenty of sleep.
    • Exercise or walk mid-day if possible.
    • Get your nutrient levels tested and optimized, if deficient. ;We suggest an organic acid test.
    • Consider taking a compounded or dessicated thyroid hormone medication. ;These include both T4 and T3.
    • We hope that this article helps you realize that there is much more that can be done to improve your thyroid hormone function. ;Your health is proportional to your ability to contribute to your family and community. ;We deeply value it and hope to empower thousands of women like yourself. ;Now that you are aware, please share!


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