5 Warning Signs That You Have Low Thyroid Levels
Did you know that a staggering 200 million people worldwide have received a diagnosis of a thyroid disorder?
But brace yourself for an even more alarming revelation – there are an additional 20 million individuals experiencing most of the symptoms of thyroid issues without receiving a proper diagnosis.
In today's discussion, I will be sharing five crucial warning signs and symptoms that could signal a thyroid disorder. We will also talk about the reasons behind these symptoms and explore the necessary tests required for an accurate diagnosis.
Without further ado, let's dive into an exploration of these five warning signs and symptoms.
Fatigue, Weakness, and Energy Drain
Ever feel like you wake up with a burst of energy, but that drains out by lunchtime, leaving you craving a nap or a major caffeine boost?
This could be the first sign of a possible thyroid disorder.
Most people with low thyroid levels will feel tired all the time.
Mornings might kick off with a dash of energy, but as the day progresses, energy levels keep dropping. By mid-afternoon or late afternoon, they will be yearning for a nap or some coffee or tea to get through the day.
This is a classic symptom of low thyroid levels.
Another thing to watch out for is the sense of weakness. This can be anything like an inability to tackle physical tasks or pain and weakness in the muscles.
So, why does this happen? It all comes down to the thyroid hormone's role in powering your cells through mitochondria. Mitochondria, are the tiny powerhouses within your cells responsible for energy production. When thyroid levels are low, these little engines don't function as efficiently, leading to the fatigue, tiredness, and weakness we've been talking about.
Unexplained Weight Changes
Beyond the fatigue and weakness, another frequent red flag for low thyroid levels is unexpected weight gain or loss. This happens even if you haven't altered your lifestyle, meaning no major shifts in diet or exercise.
This can manifest in two ways:
- Sudden Weight Gain: You might notice your weight creeping up despite maintaining your usual routine. Frustratingly, even consistent exercise and healthy eating seem powerless to stop this weight gain
- Unexplained Weight Loss: Conversely, some individuals experience unexpected and rapid weight loss. This can be equally disconcerting, especially when no obvious dietary or lifestyle changes may seem to have triggered the change.
Both these point towards low thyroid levels.
It all points to the crucial role thyroid hormones play in your body's metabolic functioning. The thyroid hormone acts as a regulator that watches over how efficiently your body utilizes the energy it gets from food.
It's linked to your basal metabolic rate (BMR) which determines how much energy you need to run your whole body, like basic body functions like breathing and circulation.
Thyroid hormones directly influence this rate, raising it or slowing it down. Raising it can cause unintentional weight loss while slowing it down may cause weight gain.
Therefore, unexplained weight changes, regardless of increase or decrease, can be a significant indicator of low thyroid levels.
Brain Fog And Anxiety
Another cluster of symptoms that can indicate low thyroid levels include anxiety, nervousness, and brain fog.
Thyroid hormones have receptors in the brain that allow them to influence your neuroendocrine system. Neuroendocrine hormones, like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, play crucial roles in regulating mood, focus, and stress response. When your thyroid has a problem and produces insufficient hormone levels, these brain chemicals don’t work properly.
This disruption is especially common among middle-aged women, who may experience anxiety, depression, or a persistent haze in their thinking. Unfortunately, these symptoms often lead to misdiagnoses of depression or anxiety disorders, overlooking the underlying thyroid dysfunction.
So, if you're battling unexplained emotional turmoil or foggy thinking along with fatigue or weight changes, don't hesitate to explore your thyroid health.
Hair thinning or falling out? Skin suddenly dry and patchy?
These seemingly unrelated changes could be linked to your thyroid hormone levels.
- Hair Loss: Your thyroid hormone, T3, plays a crucial role in hair growth and health. It has special receptors on hair follicles waiting for T3 to help healthy hair growth. When thyroid levels become low, these receptions don’t work properly as their locks stay shut, leading to hair loss and thinning. No wonder many blame thyroid problems for their disappearing hair strands.
- Skin Problems: Your skin, too, thrives on adequate thyroid hormone. Low levels can leave it dry, itchy, and even prone to rashes. Some even notice a darkening of the skin, particularly around the eyes and back of the neck. These changes are like warning signs written on your skin, signaling your thyroid's health problems.
If you're tossing and turning all night, constantly waking up, and feeling like you need naps even after a full night's sleep, it's not just about having a bad mattress. Low thyroid hormone can be the culprit behind your sleep troubles.
This important hormone helps your body sleep soundly. When it's low, it can mess up a sleep hormone called melatonin and cause brain inflammation, making it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep.
This problem, collectively called insomnia is a major issue for those with low thyroid.
Which Thyroid Test Should You Get?
We have covered the top 5 key signs your thyroid has some issues. If you have any of the symptoms, it is wise to check with your doctor.
But here's the catch: a typical doctor visit might only involve a TSH test, and if that is normal, they might say everything is okay. The thing is, just one test isn't always enough to catch a thyroid issue.
If you're worried your thyroid might be acting up, here are some tests you can ask your doctor about:
- TSH test: This checks your thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), a messenger from your brain that tells your thyroid to make more hormones. It's a good first step, but not the whole story.
- Free T4 and Free T3: These measure the actual levels of active thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) in your blood. Your thyroid produces T4 primarily and gets converted to T3 majorly. It's important to know both levels. If either is low, it indicates a thyroid disorder.
- TPO and thyroglobulin antibodies: These see if your immune system is attacking your thyroid, a common cause of thyroid problems. High levels can give your doctor a clearer picture.
Remember, just one test (like TSH) might not catch everything. If you're feeling tired, gaining weight, or having other unexplained symptoms, don't be shy to ask about these additional tests to get a better understanding of your thyroid health.
Summing It Up: Prioritize Your Health
I hope this dive into the top 5 signs of low thyroid levels has been useful. Remember, while these symptoms can be a powerful clue, the final word rests with your doctor.
Make sure to consult a doctor and specifically request the tests mentioned – TSH, free T4, and T3, TPO, and thyroglobulin antibodies.
A complete picture of your thyroid function is key to getting the right diagnosis and unlocking the door to better health. So, listen to your body's signs, take control, and embark on your journey towards feeling your best.