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Early Signs of Thyroid Issues

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

thyroid gland salivary disease woman

Thyroid disease is an umbrella term for conditions that prevent your thyroid from producing the right hormone levels. The production of too much thyroid hormone is referred to as hyperthyroidism, while insufficient hormone production is known as hypothyroidism. There are many factors that can affect thyroid function, including certain chronic illnesses and cancer.

Frustratingly, symptoms can be drastically different depending on your condition. And to add more complexity to the matter, many symptoms of thyroid issues can mimic other conditions — including those that are less serious, like a cold or flu. But if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms below for more than a couple of weeks, an underlying thyroid issue could be present.

Energy & Mood Fluctuations

An overactive thyroid can make it difficult to sleep. You may also feel anxious and irritable. But an underactive thyroid can cause fatigue, forgetfulness, and difficulty focusing. Some people with hypothyroidism also experience depression.

Weight Loss or Gain

If you’re losing weight without trying or feeling much hungrier than usual, take note: it could be a sign of an overactive thyroid. When your thyroid is working on overdrive, it signals your metabolism to accelerate. In response, your body will release fat stores for fuel, and you’ll use up energy from food faster.

Unexplained weight gain can likewise be a symptom of thyroid issues, and may be more dramatic in people with severe hypothyroidism. When your thyroid is underactive, it causes excess salt and water to accumulate in your body. But because weight gain caused by thyroid issues is usually just five to 10 pounds, it’s easy for this symptom to be attributed to other causes.

Sensitivity to Temperature Changes

Feeling sensitive to heat can indicate an overactive thyroid, whereas feeling sensitive to cold may mean your thyroid is underperforming. These increased sensitivities to temperature changes are a result of the thyroid’s ability to control how blood vessels expand and contract, which in turn regulates how heat leaves your body.

Menstrual Changes

Menstrual cycle changes may also develop with thyroid issues. If your thyroid is overactive, it may cause irregular or missed periods. Conversely, people with an underactive thyroid may experience periods that are heavier and more frequent.

Hair & Skin Changes

Changes to your hair, nails, or skin can also occur when you have thyroid disease. Watch for increased brittleness or dryness, or thinning hair and hair loss which can be indicative of thyroid issues.

While any of these symptoms may be unsettling, it’s worth noting that they’re not necessarily signs of thyroid cancer. In fact, thyroid cancer typically presents as a lump or swelling in the neck, hoarseness of the voice, persistent cough, and difficulty swallowing. No matter what’s causing thyroid changes, there are tests available to accurately diagnose symptoms. And, even if cancer should be detected, there are now more successful treatments for thyroid cancer than ever before.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms or any other new development with your health, let’s get to the bottom of it. SouthCoast Health is made up of general physicians and endocrinologists who specialize in the treatment of thyroid conditions. You can schedule your visit online or make an appointment by calling 912-691-3600.

Whether you are looking for a primary care doctor or a pediatrician, or another medical specialist, SouthCoast Health has you covered with its wide range of world-class healthcare services, available throughout the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry. SouthCoast Health has 120 physicians and medical professionals in 18 locations in Savannah, Richmond Hill, Pooler, Rincon, Baxley, Hilton Head, Hinesville, and Statesboro. SouthCoast Health offers comprehensive medical services including: Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Allergy and Asthma, Cardiology, Endocrinology, Eye Care, Imaging, Infectious Diseases, Nephrology, Neurology, Physical Therapy, Podiatry, Sleep Medicine, Surgery, Clinical Trial Research Studies, Diabetic Self-Management Training Sessions, Dietetic Counseling, Laboratory Services, Massage Therapy, Optical Shop, Pharmacy, and Urgent Care.

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