Located in the front of your neck is a butterfly-shaped organ called your thyroid gland. Though it’s small (no longer than two inches), the thyroid plays a huge role in your overall health. Your thyroid gland secretes thyroid hormones, which are essential to a variety of functions, ranging from maintaining your heartbeat and body temperature to regulating your metabolism.
Medications, iodine deficiencies, autoimmune disorders, and even pregnancy can cause your thyroid to grind to a halt, a condition known as hypothyroidism. The result? A laundry list of debilitating (not to mention frustrating) symptoms.
The most irritating thing about hypothyroidism, however, is that you can easily mistake its symptoms for something else.
Dr. Michael Skardasis and our team at Optimal Performance Medicine don’t want you to be in the dark when it comes to your health. Here, we walk through five of the most common and most missed warning signs of hypothyroidism.
Occasional sleepiness is one thing; fatigue is another. You might feel sleepy after a late night or a long flight, but you typically perk up after you get some rest. Fatigue, however, is a chronic weariness that affects every part of your day.
When you see us for fatigue, hypothyroidism is one of the first conditions we suspect. That’s because hypothyroidism slows down your metabolism or energy-making process. As a result, you feel rundown.
Is it the junk food you’ve been eating? Or is it your medication that’s backing things up? Either way, you can blame a few things for your lack of bowel movements — and hypothyroidism is one of them.
With less and less thyroid hormone coursing through your system, your body is forced to slow down almost all of its functions, including regular bowel movements.
#3: Fluctuations in weight
Are you struggling to lose weight? Has the number on your scale gotten bigger for no apparent reason? There might be more to it than a few poor diet choices.
A compromised metabolism means that your body isn’t turning the food you eat into energy you can use. The result is fewer calories burned and more weight gain.
Additionally, because your sluggish metabolism affects your energy, you might not head to the gym or you might opt for a drive-thru dinner instead of a healthier option, making it even harder for you to lose weight.
#4: Hair, skin, and nail changes
Hypothyroidism doesn’t just impact your health on the inside; it also affects your hair, skin, and nail health. As your thyroid slows down, so does your body's ability to secrete oils and grow new hair, skin, and nail cells.
If you notice thinning hair, dry skin, and brittle nails, you shouldn't blame the weather or your soaps and shampoos right away. Instead, let us test for hypothyroidism.
#5: Low body temperature
Cold all the time? It might not be your AC. Reduced body temperature is just another way a slow metabolism can impact your health.
These aren’t the only inconspicuous symptoms hypothyroidism can cause. This chronic condition can also cause unexplained weakness, depression, and problems with memory.
How we diagnose and treat hypothyroidism
These symptoms, especially when you present with two or more, often indicate problems in your thyroid. To confirm our suspicion, we begin with a thorough review of your symptoms and health history. Then, we run tests to check your hormone levels. It’s important to disclose all medications and supplements you’re taking, as they can affect your results.
Once we’ve determined that your thyroid is underactive, we create a customized treatment plan. Dr. Skardasis and our team are dedicated to creating health — not simply reducing symptoms.
Most often, that means treating hypothyroidism with bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. This is an effective treatment that replenishes your body’s stores of thyroid hormones and restores function.
We also work with you and help you make strategic lifestyle adjustments to support your overall wellbeing and manage your hypothyroidism naturally.
Concerned that your symptoms point to hypothyroidism? We can help you find out for sure. Call or click to schedule an appointment at our Woodstock, Georgia, office today.