Thyroid Disease: Know The Symptoms.

January was Thyroid Awareness Month, and since an estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease (and up to 60% of them don’t even know it), awareness is more important than ever. Could you be one of the millions unknowingly suffering from this complicated medical condition?

Unfortunately, thyroid disease can be very hard to diagnose.  Not only can blood tests be inconclusive, but the symptoms are often associated with other health problems.

Knowing the symptoms and risk factors for thyroid disease is the best place to start.

From Women to WomenHypothyroid Symptoms…

Hypothyroidism is the medical term for a sluggish thyroid. It can lead to a wide range of hypothyroidism symptoms:

  • severe fatigue, loss of energy
  • weight gain, difficulty losing weight
  • depression and depressed mood
  • joint and muscle pain, headaches
  • dry skin, brittle nails
  • brittle hair, itchy scalp, hair loss
  • irregular periods, PMS symptoms
  • breast milk formation
  • calcium metabolism difficulties
  • difficulty tolerating cold and lower body temperature
  • constipation
  • sleeping more than average
  • diminished sex drive
  • puffiness in face and extremities
  • hoarseness
  • bruising/clotting problems
  • elevated levels of LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and heightened risk of heart disease
  • allergies that suddenly appear or get worse
  • persistent cold sores, boils, or breakouts
  • tingling sensation in wrists and hands that mimics carpal tunnel syndrome
  • memory loss, fuzzy thinking, difficulty following conversation or train of thought
  • slowness or slurring of speech

Subclinical hypothyroidism may present itself with mild versions of these hypothyroid symptoms, or often just fatigue or depression.

Symptoms of Hyperthyroid…

  • feeling too hot when others are comfortable
  • shakes and tremors of your hands
  • feeling nervous and irritable
  • sweating more than you used to
  • fingernails growing faster
  • muscle weakness, especially thighs and upper arms
  • faster heart rate, sometimes irregular rhythms and an erratic pulse
  • more frequent and looser bowel movements
  • for women, lighter periods, as well as difficulties in becoming pregnant or in carrying the child to term
  • for men, loss of interest in sex, erectile dysfunction
  • eyes that appear larger than normal

Could you be at risk for thyroid disease? You are at increased risk for a thyroid problem if you or a close relative have:

  • hyperthyroidism including Graves’ Disease
  • hypothyroidism including Hashimoto’s chronic thyroiditis
  • an enlarged thyroid (goiter)
  • any autoimmune disease including Type I (Juvenile) Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, pernicious anemia due to a lack of vitamin B12, or the white skin spots of vitiligo
  • certain traits and other conditions associated with a thyroid risk including prematurely gray hair (one gray hair before thirty), bipolar disease, and mitral valve prolapse

If you think you could be suffering from thyroid disease you should talk to your doctor.

Thyroid disease is much more common in women than in men, and many women are bringing attention to this condition by blogging about it…

From Menopause The Blog – Tired?  Depressed?  Craving Sweets?  Check Your Thyroid

Fatigue, hair loss, depression and joint and muscle pain are just a few of the symptoms of a low thyroid (or hypothyroidism)- the gland that controls our metabolism. It’s not uncommon for women experiencing hormonal fluctuations – whether during pregnancy, perimenopause or menopause, to have a low-functioning thyroid.

From Keeping the Pounds OFF – Thyroid Awareness Month

If you were like me, you don’t really know what your thyroid does. I’m even in the medical field and had no idea the havoc an out-of-whack thyroid can have on the body.

For those of you who are new to my blog, last February I had a medication reaction which made my thyroid swell and triggered an autoimmune response in my body. After many tests, my blood work came back positive for Hashimoto’s antibodies–autoimmune hypothyroid disease.

I was just getting ready to make 2009 my fittest year yet and had to face this set back. I had been feeling strong and healthy…now I was exhausted most of the time, some days I could not get out of bed. Just taking a shower felt like running a marathon.

From EmpowerHer – A New Year, Thyroid Awareness Month

So what’s a manageable goal for those of us with thyroid conditions? One thing that comes to mind is weight loss and maintenance. Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism causes some to lose or gain weight. Say you’ve stabilized your condition –- which is most important –- now you feel the urge to do something about that fluff brimming over your belt.

The key is to make a plan that’s totally doable. If you are not a morning person, don’t set a plan for a 5:30 a.m. run — not gonna happen. If you totally abhor carrots, don’t go on that carrot diet thingy. You’ll drop that midway the first week. With thyroid conditions, building the metabolism is important.

From Here Comes 30 – At Least I Have My Health…

I don’t think anyone could ever take a healthy person on the journey that we’re on. I’ve tried to describe for people how there are days that I simply cannot function. My body will shut down physically and mentally. You sort of get this “suck it up” response. Yeah, well I’ve gone to work when I haven’t felt well too. I get it. It sucks.

But can they really get it? That some days its like I can’t get out of bed? Somedays its like my brain literally doesn’t hear the conversation we are having? Somedays I can’t stop eating becuase my brain is being told its hungry. Somedays I have to force myself to eat before I pass out becuase my brain is saying it doesn’t need food. How do you deal with the stress of a job and kids when you don’t have your health?

Contributing Editor Zandia wrote a post about her Hypothyroid diagnosis back in July – Hypothyroidism:  A Diagnosis and an Attempt to Get Rid of My Funk

I don’t like to take pills if I don’t have to. Normally this aversion is fine; I haven’t had any ailments or deficiencies in quite some time that have required me to take any pills on a daily basis. I do take a daily multivitamin and other vitamin supplements (if I remember), and I’m on birth control, but that’s generally about it.

That’s why, when I went to the doctor this past May and was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, I decided I’d try the natural approach first — it was an attempt to fix my thyroid level myself before I filled the prescription for synthetic hormones.

Since this post Zandria did begin to take medication for her hypothyroidism, and she’s feeling much better.

From — NBC’s Today Show Tackles Thyroid Awareness and Controversies

NBC’s Today Show had an interesting segment this morning focusing on thyroid awareness. (You can view the segment online now.) The segment aired on Thursday Jan. 28, 2010, around 9:20 a.m. EST. The story featured California nurse practitioner (NP) Eola Force, who while caring for her own patients, was herself struggling with depression, fatigue, brain fog, and weight gain — at one point she reached 400 pounds according to the story.

See video from The Today Show segment here.

Do you suffer with thyroid disease?  What symptoms do you have?  Do you take medication?  Are you concerned you may have an undiagnosed thyroid condition?  Tell us about your experience with thyroid disease in comments.

Here are some informative links on thyroid disease…

*Cross-posted at

2 comments for “Thyroid Disease: Know The Symptoms.

  1. December 21, 2010 at 12:32 am

    On the other hand, your head isn’t the only place you may experience hair loss because of thyroid disease. A symptom unique to hypothroidism is hair loss on the outer edge of the eyebrows and a thinning or loss of body hair can also be possible.

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