5 Signs You May Have a Thyroid Problem

Thyroid disorders are common, but up to 60% of people with thyroid problems aren’t aware of their condition.

Thyroid disorders develop when the gland either makes too much or too little of certain thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism is diagnosed when you don’t have enough thyroid hormone, while hyperthyroidism occurs when you have too much. 

Under- and overactive thyroid both impact your health and well-being. Along with side effects like weight changes and hair loss, thyroid disorders can cause growths called goiters or nodules to form in your neck. In some cases, these can develop into cancer.

Mild thyroid disorders can be managed with medication, but sometimes minimally invasive surgery is your best choice to preserve your health. Brian Prebil, DO, and Eric Thomas, MD, FACS, are thyroid surgery specialists at the Center for Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery. Here are five common signs of thyroid problems they suggest you keep an eye out for.

1. Unexplained weight change

Thyroid hormones influence metabolism, which is the process your body goes through to convert food into energy. Metabolism is closely linked to your weight and thyroid problems can often trigger unexplained weight changes.

People with hypothyroidism may notice weight gain, even if they aren’t eating more food. If you have hypothyroidism, it’s possible to gain weight despite exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet.

On the other hand, hyperthyroidism can cause weight loss. People with hyperthyroidism have excess thyroid hormones that speed up their metabolism and make them lose weight, even if they eat more food.

2. Hair loss

The average person loses 50 to 100 hairs a day. If you regularly lose more hair or notice thinning hair across your scalp, it may be a sign of a thyroid disorder. 

Hair loss is a common symptom of imbalance in the thyroid and it can happen if your thyroid is underactive or overactive. If you have hair loss related to a thyroid problem, you might also notice changes in your fingernails, toenails, and skin, such as brittle nails and dry skin.

3. Changes in energy level

Like body weight, your energy level is affected by your thyroid’s role in metabolism. If you’ve noticed unexplained changes in your energy level or mood, it could be caused by a thyroid problem.

Hypothyroidism often causes fatigue, making you feel sluggish or even depressed. If you’re getting plenty of sleep but still feel exhausted, it could be caused by low thyroid hormone levels.

Hyperthyroidism has the opposite effect, causing feelings of restlessness and irritability. If you’re having trouble falling asleep or you’ve noticed increased heart rate or anxiety for no obvious reason, it could be overactive thyroid. 

4. Difficulty regulating body temperature

Thyroid hormones regulate body temperature. If your thyroid hormone levels are too high, your body temperature rises. If hormone levels are too low, your body temperature drops. Difficulty regulating your body temperature can mean that you’re uncomfortable when no one else is.

Hypothyroidism may make you feel cold, even if the room is warm and you’re wearing warm clothes. Hyperthyroidism can make you overheat more easily, making you feel hot even when the room is cool.

5. Neck swelling

Since your thyroid gland is in your neck and in front of your windpipe, swelling may be noticeable if you have a thyroid problem. A goiter, or tumor, can develop from both hypo- and hyperthyroidism and create a visible bump in your neck. Nodules, or lumps that grow inside your thyroid, may get large enough to be visible as well.

Not all growths are cancerous, but even noncancerous growths can hinder your thyroid function and affect your body in various ways. Our team specializes in removing benign (noncancerous) and malignant (cancerous) growths, whether they’re visible from the outside or not. 

Schedule your thyroid consultation at our office in Peoria, Arizona, by calling or sending us a message online today.

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