According to the American Thyroid Association (ATA), more than 12% of Americans can expect to develop a thyroid problem at some point, yet as many as 60% of people with a thyroid issue don’t know it.
At Family Acupuncture and Wellness, our practitioners, led by Adam Learner, LAc, understand that a thyroid disorder can affect you in wide-ranging, but often vague, ways. You may have symptoms that don’t seem connected, or even that you can’t quite put your finger on. In this post, we discuss some of the signs that may indicate a thyroid problem.
Thyroid dysfunction facts
Women are more likely than men to develop a thyroid problem and roughly one woman in every eight will develop a thyroid issue during her life. Scientists and researchers don’t fully understand what causes thyroid problems.
If you have undiagnosed and untreated thyroid problems, you are at a higher risk of developing other chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis, among others. The hormone produced by your thyroid affects every cell in your entire body!
Hyperthyroidism is when your thyroid produces too much hormone. Far more common is hypothyroidism, where your thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormone. Two autoimmune diseases affect the thyroid: Hashimoto’s disease, which causes hypothyroidism and Grave’s disease which causes hyperthyroidism.
Signs of hyperthyroidism
An overactive thyroid causes several uncomfortable symptoms. You may feel restless, nervous, anxious or irritable. You may have a racing heart, sweat more than usual, and shake.
Other symptoms include:
- Trouble sleeping
- Thin skin
- Brittle hair and nails
- Weight loss
- Frequent bowel movements
- Increased appetite
Signs of hypothyroidism
As you might expect, the signs of an underactive thyroid are the opposite of those of an overactive thyroid. Rather than feeling anxious, you may feel depressed; instead of a racing heart rate, your heart may beat slowly. Other symptoms include:
- Dry skin and hair
- Feeling cold
- Weight gain
- Heavy, irregular menstrual periods
- Problems remembering things
- Issues with fertility
The most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States is Hashimoto’s disease, which is an autoimmune disorder in which your body mistakes your thyroid gland for an invader and attacks it. Over time, your immune system damages your thyroid to the point it can no longer produce the proper amount of hormone.
How we can help
Having a thyroid disorder can make you feel awful and make it difficult for you to carry out your day-to-day obligations, never mind doing the things you enjoy. You may feel like you’ll never be your normal self again.
We use a combination of a physical exam, lab tests, and discussing your symptoms to understand your condition and devise a plan to treat it. Often, a treatment plan for a thyroid disorder includes dietary changes, education, and other approaches to help your body reach optimal healing and health.
If you’re experiencing vague symptoms or you just don’t feel like yourself, schedule an appointment at Family Acupuncture and Wellness. We can begin investigating the cause of your symptoms, and suggest ways you may be able to start feeling better.