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5 Signs Something Could Be Up with Your Thyroid

Your thyroid, a small butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck, is one of your body’s most important organs. It produces two thyroid hormones: triiodothyronine and thyroxine, otherwise known as T3 and T4. They travel in your bloodstream to affect every organ in your body.

Tiny amounts of T3 and T4 make big things happen, such as regulating your metabolism, which affects how fast or slow your heart, brain, muscles, and organs function.

A thyroid disorder can cause your body to make too much or too little thyroid hormone, which can impact your health and how you feel. Thyroid issues tend to affect more women, especially right after pregnancy and after menopause, than men.

Is your thyroid on the fritz? Here are five common signs it might be.

  1. Unexplained weight loss/gain. Putting on a few pounds without explanation could be a sign of hypothyroidism, when your body doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone. If your body makes too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism), you may lose weight without trying, even if you’re eating more than usual.

  2. Mood swings. Nervousness, anxiety, or irritability could signal hyperthyroidism. Feeling sad or depressed is a sign of hypothyroidism.

  3. Temperature changes. Thyroid hormones help regulate body temperature. Feeling cold or hot more easily can signal an underactive or overactive thyroid.

  4. Neck swelling. It could be a sign of an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter) or a thyroid nodule, which is a swelling in one section of the thyroid. If the goiter or nodule is very large, you may also have trouble swallowing or breathing.

  5. Period problems. Excessive menstrual bleeding can mean hypothyroidism. Similarly, with hyperthyroidism, women may experience fewer or lighter menstrual periods.

Thyroid problems can lead to a range of health issues, including trouble conceiving, heart failure, or osteoporosis. If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor. Keep in mind, however, that thyroid symptoms, such as fatigue, weight gain, weight loss, and trouble sleeping, can overlap with many other conditions.

© 2000-2018 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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