There are several ways to tell if you may be suffering from hypothyroidism, also known as an ‘underactive thyroid’. It’s estimated that around 25 million people in the US have this condition; however, only about 50% have been properly diagnosed. So, how do you spot the symptoms?
What is hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is a deficiency in the thyroid when isn’t enough of the growth-regulating hormone being produced in your body. If these are too low, your bodily functions will slow down, which can include your heart rate, regulation of your body temperature and metabolism.
Spotting the indicators of hypothyroidism
It’s not always straightforward to diagnose hypothyroidism. However, there are many ways to combat the condition, including taking HRT medication like cytomel tabs (liothyronine or T3). Here is a selection of the most common indicators to help you spot if you might have a problem before speaking with your doctor.
An underactive thyroid affects how well or quickly we burn through calories. So, if you’ve recently started to put on weight without any changes to your activity levels or diet, you may have a problem with your thyroid.
Most people with an underactive thyroid will feel tired throughout the day, which is due to the fact that the thyroid hormone controls energy. If you feel sluggish and worn out despite getting enough sleep, you may have an issue with your thyroid.
Another symptom of hypothyroidism is weak and painful muscles. Having an underactive thyroid can cause our bodies to break down body tissues like muscle, which lowers strength. If you’ve spotted that you’re not able to carry out physical activities like you used to without feeling achy and sore afterwards, this may also be a sign of the condition.
Feeling down for no reason? Unless there are other factors that might be affecting your mood, feeling low can be a sign of hypothyroidism. Studies have shown that having an underactive thyroid is linked to depression, so speak with a professional to see if this could be the root of the problem.
Poor skin and hair health
Hair follicles and skin cells have a rapid turnover rate, which means they’re also sensitive to any decrease in growth signals from the thyroid. Noticed that your hair is looking duller and thinner? Does your skin feel drier than usual? Both of these are symptoms of hypothyroidism, and they may be signs that your hair follicles and cells are not regenerating at the normal rate.
Suddenly becoming sensitive to cold is also an indicator of hypothyroidism to watch out for. Body heat comes from burning calories, but if you have hypothyroidism, your metabolic rate often decreases. That means you’re generating less heat and will be more inclined to feel cold. Keep a note of when you feel chilly but those around you say they think the temperature is fine. If this happens often, it may be linked to a thyroid issue.
Determining if you are at risk of developing hypothyroidism
Generally, hypothyroidism is more commonly seen in women and people aged 60 or over. However, it’s never too early to prepare in case you are affected by the condition. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do you have a family history of thyroid problems?
- Have you had a previous thyroid issue?
- Do you have Turner syndrome or an autoimmune disease?
- Have you been pregnant in the past six months?
If you’ve answered “yes” to any of the above, your chances of developing hypothyroidism might be higher than others. So, it may be worth asking your doctor to run some tests to be safe.