Your thyroid is a small gland at the base of your neck, which is responsible for many components of your health. When it’s working properly, your thyroid helps regulate heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and metabolism.
However, an impaired thyroid can result in a bevy of health complications. Most of us are aware that thyroid issues can lead to weight gain and even lethargy, but could you spot these other unusual symptoms? If you recognise these signs, it could be advisable to visit your GP for a proper assessment:
1. The feeling of your skin
“The thyroid controls the rate at which you shed your skin”, explains Dr Richard Harrell. An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) means that your skin may shed faster, leaving it feeling thin and weak.
In contrast, an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) means that skin cells are shed less regularly. This can leave your skin feeling rough and even bumpy.
2. Changes to your body temperature
Your thyroid is normally responsible for regulating your body temperature. Therefore, if you think you’re experiencing the weather vastly different to other people, this could hint at a thyroid condition.
People living with hyperthyroidism will often feel warmer, sweatier and may even experience redness of the face and hands. Whereas people with hypothyroidism will generally feel cold and even look pale.
According to Dr Harrell, our body temperature is intrinsically linked to our metabolism, which can be affected by the thyroid.
“People with hyperthyroidism can wake up sweating at night because of the increased energy burn with a rapid heartbeat”, he explained.
3. How you experience emotions
In extreme cases, overactive thyroids can produce a ‘manic’ affect on your emotions. “Hyperthyroid is typically associated with anxiety, hyper emotionality, and even psychosis”, Dr Harrell explains.
On the other hand, hypothyroidism is normally connected to feelings of depression, social anxiety and even forgetfulness. An underactive thyroid can leave you feeling incredibly sluggish too.
4. Your trips to the toilet
Since hyperthyroidism increases your metabolism, bowel movements will also be more frequent. Unfortunately for people with an underactive thyroid, this means that you are more likely to experience constipation, resulting from a lowered metabolism.
5. Changes in hair thickness
Whether your thyroid is under or over active, chances are you may experience some hair loss. People living with hyperthyroidism normally notice hair thinning from their scalp, whilst people with hypothyroidism will notice changes to the thickness of their eyebrows. This is to do with the way our thyroids can regulate hormones – an aspect strongly connected to hair growth.