Don’t let your thyroid ruin your life – here are the signs it’s playing up 62



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Before my thyroid issue was diagnosed, I honestly thought I was going mad, or dying – or both. Fortunately, my doctor took one look at my thin frame, shaking hands and bulging eyes and recognised what was happening.

As soon as I took the thyroid stimulating hormones I was prescribed, the madness stopped and, before long, I was myself again.

Robyn Koumourou is a director of Thyroid Australia. She says, “In Australia, in particular, the average person knows little about thyroid disorders and their detrimental effects upon health. Moreover, it has been difficult for some patients to find a doctor who is willing to test thoroughly, to make a diagnosis, and then explain their condition clearly.”

The trouble with thyroid conditions is that there is such a huge variations in symptoms and many of these are easily attributable to other health problems, stress or mental health problems. Your thyroid, which is a butterfly shaped gland in your next, produces hormones that regulate your metabolism and control just about every organ in your body. If it is producing too much, you have hyperthyroidism; too little is called hypothyrodism.

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism

  • Palpitations, fast pulse and irregular heartbeat
  • Trembling and twitches
  • Heat intolerance
  • Hot flushes and increased sweating
  • Increased appetite (or loss of appetite)
  • Weight loss (especially if eating well)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Anxiety, nervousness and/or panic attacks
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Thin, moist skin
  • Soft, thinning hair
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle weakness
  • Insomnia
  • Enlarged thyroid gland
  • Eye complaints (especially gritty or bulging eyes)
  • Fatigue, exhaustion and lack of energy
  • Menstrual cycle disturbances (intermittent and light)
  • Infertility
  • Depression and mood swings

And less commonly:

  • Bowel disorders
  • Brittle nails
  • Chest pain
  • Cramps
  • Decreased libido
  • Easy bruising
  • Hair loss
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Sore throat
  • Swelling of legs

Symptoms of hypothyroidism

  • Weight gain
  • Chronic constipation
  • Feeling cold (especially hands and feet) even on warm days
  • Low basal temperature
  • Fatigue, exhaustion and low energy (even after 12 hours sleep)
  • Slow reflexes
  • Slow, weak pulse
  • Slowness of thought processes (brain fog)
  • Indecisiveness
  • Poor memory and concentration
  • Sluggishness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Pain and stiffness in muscles or joints
  • Deepening, hoarse voice
  • Depression, mood swings and severe PMS
  • Thick, dry, coarse skin
  • Creviced, cracking skin on heels, elbows and knee caps
  • Enlarged thyroid gland
  • Lump in throat (hard to swallow)
  • High cholesterol
  • Menstrual cycle irregularities (prolonged and heavy)
  • Infertility
  • Numbness and tingling (especially in hands and face)
  • Fluid retention (swelling of face and feet)
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Hair loss
  • Shortness of breath on exertion

And less commonly

  • Allergies
  • Back pain
  • Blood pressure problems
  • Breast tenderness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Digestive disturbances
  • Dizziness
  • Dry eyes and mouth
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Irritability
  • Pale skin
  • Palpitations
  • Reduced libido
  • Skin rashes
  • Sore throat
  • Stiff neck and shoulders
  • Thinning eye brows
  • Visual disturbances

If you are concerned, ask your doctor to examine your neck and order a thyroid test. I spent far too long thinking there was something terribly wrong with me, when the solution turned out to be quiet simple to fix. Don’t suffer in silence; see your doctor if you feel there is something wrong.

Have you experienced an issue with your thyroid? How did you determine what was going on?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Thyroid problems are hard to diagnose. I was told of course I was tired, I had young children, and by another doctor I was malingering. It wasn’t till I read an article on hypothyroidism, and presented the symptoms I had that I was sent for tests. Once diagnosed, the condition is easily treated.

  2. Same, I should have been diagnosed years ago and would have felt so much better… But thought it was just a hectic lifestyle that was exhausting me. It’s worth asking for a thyroid function test – at least they can do something about it if that’s causing the various issues that come along with thyroid dysfunction.

  3. A 2.9kilo goitre did it for me.

    5 REPLY
    • It was high in my back in the base of my brain in my chest and up the sides of my face..Had a lot of trouble getting a surgeon to help me for many years because of other complications,it ended up goitre on goitre on goitre.I looked like a fat faced turkey

    • The hospital kept it for research,same with the brain tuma’s that was tuma on tuma,that made the British Medical Journal,and the football growth they took out of my gut the QE2 kept that for research….Shit Life!!

  4. It’s amazing what the thyroid controls I had suffered for years and finally was sent to a specialist who gave me the option operation or radio active tablet to shrink it I opted for tablet and haven’t looked back 😜

  5. Can have a thyroid problem before that age so if you think you might have a thyroid problem get it checked out.

  6. Was diagnosed with under active thyroid over 20 years ago-no problems-just take the prescribed pills

  7. This article is good but really only scratches the surface of all the problems involved with throid. I have hashimotos thyroiditis and my sister has Graves disease. Good reading is to google I am Hashimotos. Very complicated problem.

    1 REPLY
    • My sons girlfriend has/had Graves’ disease. She was 22 and was living with me at the time. She was walking to the station and had to walk up a slight incline. Her pulse rate hit 220. She went to the doctor and lucky for her she was diagnosed almost immediately. She was started on large amounts of medication only to become violently ill on it. She was always running on high. Never seemed settled. In the end her thyroid was almost choking her so had surgery about 12 months after diagnosis. She is so much better now but has been left with a few problems but nothing like she was. She has gone on to have a beautiful daughter which we never thought would be possible. Unfortunately for my granddaughter there is auto immune diseases on both sides of the family, her mum with Graves Disease and I have rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and Sjrogrens Syndrome. Finger crossed it will miss a few generations. It is not a pleasant disease with a lot of other problems so anyone who thinks they might have either Graves’ disease or Hashimotos get yourself checked. She was misdiagnosed as a teenager and yes it can hit that young. It was thought she was about 14 when it developed

  8. Some can be diagnosed with the existing test,but really this test should be expanded to pick it up early. I also had to have a special scan which picked up parathyroid as well.

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