According to Dr. Ridha Arem of The Thyroid Solution, “At any given time in the U.S., more than 20 million people suffer from a thyroid disorder. More than 10 million women have a low grade thyroid imbalance and nearly 8 million people with the imbalance are undiagnosed. More than 500,000 new cases of thyroid imbalance occur each year.” This gland is a butterfly shaped gland in the front of the neck. It is the primary gland in charge of metabolism. A malfunctioning thyroid gland is either classified as “hypo” meaning too little activity or “hyper” meaning too much activity. A dysfunctional thyroid can affect every aspect of your health including your weight, depression and energy levels.
Some common signs that you have a thyroid problem include:
- Muscle and joint pain
- Plantar fascitis
- Changes to the hair and skin (coarse & brittle hair for hypothyroidism; significant hair loss for hyperthyroidism)
- Bowel problems (Significant constipation with hypothyroidism; diarrhea with hyperthyroidism)
- Menstrual problems and infertility (heavier & frequent periods with hypothyroidism; light & infrequent periods with hyperthyroidism)
- Cholesterol problems (high cholesterol with hypothyroidism; low cholesterol with hyperthyroidism)
- Depression and anxiety
- Weight changes (weight gain with hypothyroidism; weight loss with hyperthyroidism)
If you believe you might be suffering from thyroid problems, contact your doctor for testing to determine how your gland is functioning. Your doctor will probably order blood tests. The measurement of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels is often used by doctors as a screening test. Elevated TSH levels can signify low thyroid hormone production. Your doctor may test your blood thyroid hormones called T4 and T3.