14 Signs You Might Have A Thyroid Condition

Signs of a Thyroid Condition
By: Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN; Reboot Nutritionist

With so many individuals being diagnosed with a thyroid condition*, how can you tell if you may be at risk?  Your thyroid hormones act on just about every cell in the body and play a key role in metabolism, heart health, respiration or breathing, body temperature and nervous system, just to name a few.

Thyroid conditions are common with estimates showing 20 million Americans diagnosed and approximately 850,000 Australians. The prevalence is greater in women than men and age is also a risk factor.  Many individuals have an autoimmune form of underactive thyroid known as Hashimoto’s disease or its counterpart, Graves Disease, an autoimmune form of overactive thyroid.

Symptoms of an underactive thyroid, also referred to as hypothyroid include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Cold sensitivity
  • Muscle aches
  • Dry skin
  • Constipation
  • Thinning hair
  • Depression
  • Impaired memory & concentration
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Low libido
  • Infertility
  • Slow heart rate
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

Symptoms of an overactive thyroid, also referred to as hyperthyroid include:

  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Increased appetite
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Hand tremors
  • Nervousness/anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Heat sensitivity
  • More frequent bowel movements
  • Joint pains
  • Menstrual changes
  • Infertility
  • Skin and hair thinning
  • Brittle nails
  • Eye complaints (bulging/gritty eyes)

Let’s break down some of the most common symptoms of underlying thyroid issues in more detail.

Stubborn Scale

While certainly not everyone having trouble shedding those unwanted pounds has a thyroid issue, difficulty with weight loss is a hallmark of hypothyroid.  Coupled with other risk factors or symptoms listed above, like feeling cold often, tired and achy, despite working to eat well, be active, practice good sleep habits and dress warmly.

If you do indeed wind up being diagnosed with an underactive thyroid, you can still lose weight, but it will likely take specific strategies, determination and persistence.

Hairy Situation

Thinning, brittle or loss of hair is another classic sign of potential thyroid issues.  Nails and skin may also be affected.  While many chalk these changes up to menopause and hormonal changes common in middle-aged women, don’t sit idly by if you find these symptoms concerning, increasing in severity or simply bothersome.  Ignoring your body’s signs is a recipe for health disaster.  Catching chronic illnesses early can help make treatment more effective.

Chilly to the Core

If you’re freezing all the time, even when it’s warm out, or feel you have trouble regulating your temperature, thyroid hormone imbalance could be at the root of the problem.  This one can be tricky and another reason to get confirmation from your doctor with blood tests.

If you’ve been making efforts to reduce your caloric intake in hopes of losing weight, this can also play into feeling cold.  Studies show that caloric restriction is often accompanied by reduction in body temperature or feeling chilly, especially in your extremities (hands and feet).  Caloric restriction can be healthy and may help to promote longevity; a good thing indeed.  If you’re unsure whether your cold feet are from eating less or an undiagnosed thyroid condition, schedule an appointment with your doctor.

When In Doubt, Get It Checked Out!

Early detection is key.  Ask your primary care doctor for general screening blood tests at your annual well visits, especially if you are middle-aged, have a family history of over- or under-active thyroid, or are experiencing certain symptoms described above. Ask for a TSH level as well as Free T4 & T3 as well as any others your physician feels would be helpful.  Often vitamin D levels may be low, risk for Celiac disease may be elevated, and further testing may be necessary to create an optimal plan.

Don’t Go It Alone

Dealing with maintaining a healthy weight, immune system and overall energy level and mood while in the midst of a thyroid condition can be overwhelming and frankly daunting.  Teaming up with peers and an expert coach to help guide you through a practical plan for getting your health and weight on track can make all the difference.  Learn more about our Guided Reboot for Thyroid Conditions and consider joining our next 60 day group adventure.

*If you have a hypothyroid condition, including Hashimoto’s autoimmune disease, then consider signing up for our next 60-Day Guided Reboot for Thyroid on January 11th. This program will help you learn how to properly nourish and protect your thyroid, lose weight (if you have weight to lose), support a healthy immune system and jumpstart a healthy lifestyle. Register today.

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Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN; Reboot Nutritionist

Stacy is a Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition and an Integrative Nutritionist. She consults for various companies, focusing on health, wellness and innovative strategies to help increase individual’s fruit and vegetable intake. Stacy is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Health Fitness Specialist; she holds a BS degree in Dietetics from Indiana University, completed her dietetic internship at Massachusetts General Hospital, and earned a Masters in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a Senior Clinical Nutritionist at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School teaching affiliates, in Boston, MA, with more than 20 years of experience. Stacy created and now serves as project manager and lead writer for nutrition services content on the Dana Farber website and the affiliated, nationally recognized nutrition app. Stacy is regularly featured on TV, radio, print and social media on behalf of Dana Farber and other organizations. Together with her husband, Dr. Russell Kennedy PsyD, they have a private practice, Wellness Guides, LLC. Stacy is an adjunct professor in Wellness and Health Coaching at William James College, currently teaching a graduate course in Health Coaching. Stacy is featured in the award winning documentary films, “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” and “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2,” and serves on the Reboot with Joe Medical Advisory Board. Stacy lives in Wellesley with her husband, two sons and three dogs. She enjoys cooking, yoga, hiking and spending time with friends and family. Stacy is also one of the nutritionists who runs our Guided Reboot programs.

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