Symptoms of Thyroid Problems

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There are many symptoms that indicate thyroid problems and identifying them doesn't always take a medical professional. Also, they may take months or years to become noticeable. If you suspect you have an overactive or underactive thyroid based on your symptoms, call your physician, who can order a blood test that will measure your thyroid function and prescribe treatment, if necessary.

Function

  • Thyroid problems manifest themselves as symptoms when a person's thyroid is either overactive or underactive due to differing underlying reasons. These symptoms are an indication that something is wrong with the thyroid's function and their presence is evaluated by a medical professional to help diagnose thyroid problems.

Types

  • For an underactive thyroid, the symptoms can include fatigue, weakness, dry skin, coarse or dry hair, sensitivity to cold, depression, memory problems, constipation, weight gain and irritability. Overactive thyroid symptoms include inexplicable weight loss, excessive sweating, insomnia, racing heartbeat, frequent bowl movements, nervousness and irritability.

Significance

  • Symptoms of thyroid problems appear as a warning that something is wrong with thyroid function. A trip to the doctor's office is necessary to determine exactly what the problem is. A simple blood test ordered by your doctor can determine the exact cause of the thyroid issues.

Time Frame

  • Symptoms may not be noticeable at first, but after months or years you may realize they fit the pattern of thyroid disease, whether hypothyrodism or hyperthyroidism. The symptoms tend to be lifelong but are managed with prescription medication or radiation therapy that help return the thyroid to its normal function.

Identification

  • Usually, more than one symptom manifests at a time. The best way to determine if the symptoms are indeed part of a thyroid problem is through a blood test that measures TSH, or thyroid-stimulating hormone. In general, a TSH measurement on the higher end of a laboratory scale indicates hypothyroidism, as TSH is manufactured when the thyroid is under-functioning; and a lower number is indicative of hyperthyroidism, when TSH is not needed because the thyroid is over-functioning. Other blood tests that your doctor may use to diagnose thyroid problems include Free T4, Total T4, Free T3, T3 Uptake and certain antibody-measuring tests.

Identification

  • To identify symptoms of thyroid problems, the person who is affected must first recognize the symptoms are present. There are many websites dedicated to thyroid disease that have lists of possible symptoms. If a handful of these symptoms match yours, make an appointment with your physician for a checkup and get bloodwork that includes thyroid panel. It is the bloodwork that will positively identify thyroid malfunction.

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