An estimated 59 million Americans are living with some type of thyroid condition and most are not even aware of it. As one of the largest endocrine glands in the body, the thyroid controls how quickly the body uses energy and makes proteins, as well as the body’s sensitivity to other hormones. When your thyroid gland is not functioning properly, it can affect many facets of your health, including your weight, mood and energy levels. Furthermore, undiagnosed thyroid problems can increase your risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, depression, anxiety, infertility and others. Here are some signs and symptoms to look for when assessing the possibility of having a thyroid problem:
Aches and Pains
Both hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) can result in a host of muscle and/or joint-related symptoms, including weakness and pain, cramps, and stiffness. More advanced conditions can lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, causing tingling, burning and other discomfort in your hands or feet.
The health of your hair is particularly vulnerable to thyroid problems, resulting in hair loss or the development o f coarse, dry hair that easily breaks or falls out. People with hypothyroidism may even lose the hair in the outer edge of the eyebrow.
People suffering from a thyroid condition may experience changes in weight without drastically changing their diet or exercise plan. An underactive thyroid may cause difficulty in losing weight, even with strict diet and rigorous exercise modifications, while an overactive thyroid may cause you to lose weight without even trying.
Treatment for thyroid conditions typically depends on the depth of the condition, age and gender of the patient, and the preference of the health-care provider. There are both natural and surgical treatments that may prove to be effective for improving thyroid health, so consult a professional.
By Dr. Isaac Eliaz M.D., L.Ac., M.S.
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