· By Jamal Ayton-Brown
What Are Early Warning Signs Of Thyroid Problems? - 10 Signs Revealed
If you’re wondering what are the early warning signs of thyroid problems, let’s get stuck in and find out.
There’s a wide range of signs of thyroid problems, so they can be difficult to diagnose. From weight loss and anxiety to irregular periods, there are a whole bunch of signs to look out for.
Remember, though, if you feel like you might be suffering from thyroid problems, then it’s always wise to go and see a doctor!
What Is Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism is when a person has an overactive thyroid. The thyroid is a small gland in the neck that sits just in front of the windpipe, and when you suffer from hyperthyroidism, it means that your thyroid is producing too much of the thyroid hormones.
Hyperthyroidism will speed up your metabolism, which can cause a range of thyroid symptoms in females. You may notice a quicker heartbeat or may lose weight without meaning to if you’re suffering with hyperthyroidism. Other symptoms include feeling weak or tired, for which one of the best things to do is look into the best vitamins for energy and depression.
If you experience any of these symptoms and think you might be suffering with hyperthyroidism, then it’s time to see a doctor. Tell them about the signs of thyroid problems that you are experiencing, and ask them to test you for hyperthyroidism. Once you’ve got a diagnosis, you’ll be able to work with your healthcare provider to determine a healthcare plan.
So, what are the early warning signs of thyroid problems? Let’s find out!
If you’re wondering about what the early warning signs of thyroid problems are, then you’ll want to know that fatigue is one of the key thyroid problem symptoms. So, if you’re experiencing low energy levels in females, then you might want to get checked for hyperthyroidism.
Feelings of tiredness and fatigue are common in those with thyroid problems, and they can affect your ability to get through the day without feeling wiped out. The reason for the fatigue in people with hyperthyroidism is that the body’s metabolism speeds up, and the overactivity can lead to fatigue.
A good way to deal with fatigue and low energy levels in females is to find some natural energy boosters and look into the best vitamins for energy and depression. We would recommend giving a vegan protein powder a go, as ours is packed with plenty of nutrients to help to boost your energy levels!
2. Weight Fluctuations
So, we know that hyperthyroidism speeds up your metabolism. But did you know that one of the big signs of thyroid problems is experiencing weight fluctuations?
Typically, hyperthyroidism causes weight loss due to the increase in the speed of your metabolism. It can, however, also cause weight gain in some circumstances, so if you’re experiencing fluctuations in your weight, then this might be why.
Weight gain in people with hyperthyroidism can happen because of the increase in appetite that comes with the disorder. You may be taking in substantially more calories, which means that you can still gain weight, even though your body is using more energy.
One of the main ways to treat hyperthyroidism is with anti-thyroid medications, which block the thyroid’s ability to produce new hormones. There are also other options like beta-blockers, radioactive iodine, or, in severe cases, surgery. If you’ve been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, then speak to your doctor about the best course of action.
3. Temperature Sensitivity
Hyperthyroidism can mess with your body’s ability to control its temperature. It may make you feel really sensitive to heat, as well as causing excessive sweating.
The reason that hyperthyroidism can cause temperature sensitivity is that your thyroid gland is what regulates your body temperature. When your thyroid is producing more hormones than the amount needed, your temperature will likely rise. This will lead to you feeling sensitive to heat and seemingly sweating constantly.
So, what can you do to help your newfound temperature sensitivity? If you know that your heat intolerance is due to hyperthyroidism, then you can speak to your doctor about the options available to reduce your sensitivity. These can include medications, radioactive iodine, or surgery.
For some temporary relief, lightweight clothing can help. Also try to make sure you always have access to air conditioning or a fan to help you cool down quickly if necessary!
4. Slowed Heart Rate
Often, patients with hyperthyroidism experience a sped up heart rate. This is because an excess of thyroid hormones can cause the heart to beat harder and faster, potentially triggering abnormal heart rhythms such as atrial fibrillation. You may also experience palpitations as a thyroid symptom in females.
In contrast, if you’re suffering with hypothyroidism, which is when the body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones, you may suffer with a slowed heart rate. Hypothyroidism not only leads to a slower heart rate, but can also make the arteries less elastic and cause a rise in blood pressure.
The best thing to do if you’re suffering with any kind of cardiac problems is, of course, to go straight to your doctor. They’ll be able to advise you as to exactly what’s wrong, and will help you with a suitable treatment plan. Heart problems should always be taken seriously - at the end of the day, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
5. Skin & Hair Changes
Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can cause you to have dry, brittle or thinning hair. This may be noticed on both your scalp and your body, so keep an eye out for changes in your hair! It won’t necessarily be a case of bald spots, rather you may notice your hair thinning all over. The good news is, the hair loss that’s associated with thyroid problems is usually temporary.
Hyperthyroidism sufferers often also experience warm, moist skin, which ties in with the temperature sensitivity discussed earlier on. So if you’re wondering what are the early warning signs of thyroid problems, then changes to your skin and hair are key signals to look out for.
The milder your hyperthyroidism, the less likely you will be to experience these symptoms. So it’s important to manage your condition with medication or surgery to avoid a significant change in your appearance. With regular treatment, you will likely notice a difference within several months, though in the case of your hair, it may be a different colour or texture to what it was before.
Boosting your iron levels can also help with hair growth. Thyroid issues have been found to potentially affect the body’s ferritin levels, in which case you’d need to supplement your iron. We’d recommend a vegan protein powder that contains everything you need for these issues and more!
6. Gastrointestinal Problems
If you’re suffering with gastrointestinal problems, then you may need to get checked for hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism can cause a range of digestive symptoms, ranging from difficulty swallowing and vomiting to the weight loss we discussed earlier on. This is because an overactive thyroid speeds up bodily functions such as digestion.
In people with hypothyroidism, the opposite symptoms may be experienced, as an underactive thyroid can slow down the body’s systems. You may notice constipation, low stomach acid and poor absorption of food, among other issues.
Try and focus on eating whole foods with anti-inflammatory qualities where possible. In some cases, a paleo-like diet can work well to deal with the gastrointestinal problems caused by thyroid disorders. See what works for you, and speak to your doctor if you’re unsure.
7. Hoarse Voice
If you’re wondering what are the early warning signs of thyroid problems, then hoarseness of the voice is a key one to look out for. If you’re experiencing hyperthyroidism, then you may well notice that you develop a hoarse voice, which may be surprising.
So, if you suddenly notice a change in your voice, then it may be worth getting checked for hyperthyroidism. This is especially the case if you’re experiencing other symptoms of thyroid problems, such as low energy levels in females over 50.
The best thing to do if you’re experiencing hoarseness of voice due to thyroid problems is to speak to your doctor. They may recommend that you go and see an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist, depending on the severity.
8. Muscle Aches & Weakness
Muscle disease, otherwise known as myopathy, can occur in both patients with hypothyroidism and those with hyperthyroidism. The muscle problems that are associated with these conditions are typically mild, usually, so they hopefully aren’t too much to worry about. However, in some cases your myopathy can be severe, in which case it can cause you to really struggle with day-to-day life.
Muscle weakness and cramping are common in both those with hyperthyroidism and those with hypothyroidism. Meanwhile, muscle aches are usually more associated with hypothyroidism, though that’s not to say that they don’t always appear in cases of hyperthyroidism.
If you’re experiencing serious muscle aches and weakness, then it’s worth speaking to a professional. Often they will recommend taking a thyroid medication to help with the symptoms, after which you should start to notice an improvement after a few weeks or months.
9. Irregular Menstrual Cycles
Are you sitting there asking yourself what the early warning signs of thyroid problems are? Then let us let you in on another one - irregular menstrual cycles!
Those who suffer with hyperthyroidism often have higher levels of prolactin in their bodies, which, along with the protein SHBG, can affect the ovaries’ function. This can cause periods to become more infrequent and irregular, or may make your periods lighter. It can even cause your periods to stop completely, which comes with risks.
If you suffer with hyperthyroidism, you may also experience decreased fertility levels due to a lack of ovulation impacting your fertility. Additionally, you may also be at more risk of miscarrying a pregnancy if you are producing excessive thyroid hormones during your pregnancy. So basically, it’s pretty important to keep an eye on your thyroid!
Speak to your doctor about treating your hyperthyroidism with an antithyroid medication. This can help to regulate your thyroid function, thus serving to also alleviate any menstrual and fertility problems you may be experiencing.
10. Mood Swings, Anger & Depression
Some of the biggest tell tale signs of hyperthyroidism are mood swings, anger and depression. Some people who are suffering with hyperthyroidism also report symptoms including panic attacks and anxiety, suggesting that thyroid problems can really affect your psychological wellbeing. Brain fog symptoms are also something to look out for.
If you’re experiencing any of these psychological symptoms, the best thing to do is speak to a healthcare professional. Your first port of call should be a therapist, if you have one, or if not, then speak to your doctor to see if they can refer you.
You can also turn to a trusted family member or friend to talk things through. This can be particularly helpful for people suffering from anxiety or depression, but it can also help in other instances, as talking can help you to see start to understand your emotions better.
It's also worth looking into natural remedies, such as functional mushrooms. Some of these have been proven to reduce anxiety, mood fluctuation and mild depression. Start with our list of the best lion's mane supplements.
When To See A Doctor
If you notice any of the symptoms that we’ve discussed appearing in your body, then it’s worth going to a doctor. They can then tell you whether you’re suffering with thyroid problems, and can advise you as to the best course of action. As they say, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Frequently Asked Questions
What food should be avoided if diagnosed?
There are a range of foods to avoid if you suffer with hyperthyroidism. These include, but aren’t limited to:
- Iodine-rich foods such as seaweed, dairy products or egg yolks
- Soy-based foods such as soy milk, tofu or edamame beans
What is the most common age for thyroid problems?
Hyperthyroidism can affect anyone, however it’s around ten times more likely to occur in women than men. It also typically affects those aged between 20 and 40 years old. Meanwhile, hypothyroidism is also more common in women, but it tends to be people aged over 60 who suffer with this problem.
How does thyroid affect sleep?
People with hyperthyroidism may experience night sweats and a frequent need to go to the bathroom, which can disrupt sleep. People with hypothyroidism, meanwhile, often feel very cold at night and may experience joint or muscle pain which disrupts sleep.
To conclude, there are plenty of ways to work out what are the early warning signs of thyroid problems. Keep an eye out for all of the ones we’ve touched upon, as they’re all important tell tale signs and shouldn’t be ignored.
Key ones to remember, however, are weight fluctuations, fatigue and temperature sensitivity, though, as these are three of the biggest symptoms of thyroid problems. Speak to your doctor if you’re ever unsure, though, and do what you can to maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet, as this can help!
By Lola Sherwin