Ten reasons to have your thyroid checked

by imedical

Thursday August 18th 2022

Ten reasons to have your thyroid checked-Thyroid-Issues-01a

In its early stages, it can be easy to miss the symptoms of an Underactive Thyroid.

An underactive thyroid (Hypothyroidism) is a condition where your thyroid gland doesn't produce enough hormones.

Generally, Hypothyroidism tends to develop slowly over many years, and depending on the severity of your hormone deficiency, the symptoms will vary.

If you are feeling tired or worn out, having trouble keeping weight off, anxious or depressed, you may suffer from Hypothyroidism.

If left untreated, an underactive thyroid can cause many health problems, such as obesity, excessive hair loss, joint or muscle pain, infertility, heart disease and even anxiety and depression.

Your metabolism will continue to slow; consequently, severe medical conditions can develop. When these symptoms increase, the condition may be called myxoedema.

What is the thyroid?

The thyroid gland is the butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck.

It regulates many metabolic processes of vital body functions, including growth and energy expenditure, as thyroid hormones convert oxygen and calories into energy. These metabolic processes control how fast or slow your brain works and your heart, liver, muscles, and other vital organs.

Around one in twenty people experience thyroid problems. Either in the form of an Underactive or Overactive Thyroid. Women are ten times more likely to have thyroid issues. 1

What are the signs of an underactive thyroid?

When an underactive thyroid releases too little T3 and T4 into your bloodstream, your metabolism will slow down too much.

The signs and symptoms of a thyroid imbalance can be mistaken for many other conditions and confused with hormonal disorders such as menopause or autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto's disease. In older patients, signs of thyroid imbalance are often dismissed as 'just aging'.

If you suffer from one or more of the following, having the correct thyroid blood tests will ensure you receive the appropriate treatment, which can be relatively straightforward to correct in most cases.

Signs and symptoms may include:

1. Lethargy and fatigue.

If you feel tired all the time despite getting 8 hours of sleep each night and have trouble getting through your day without stimulants, you could suffer from a Low-thyroid. In one study, 138 adults with Hypothyroidism experienced physical exhaustion and reduced activity. They also reported low motivation and mental exhaustion. 2

2. Depression and Anxiety.

A thyroid test is necessary if you are experiencing depression. Suffers of hyperthyroid tend to experience anxiety or panic attacks.

3. Impaired memory or Reduced concentration.

Brain fog can be caused by too little thyroid hormone, may contribute to forgetfulness and affect your attention.

4. Unusual weight gain.

As the thyroid controls your metabolism, it can affect your weight. With a lower metabolic rate, you can experience weight gain even if your diet and exercise have not changed.

5. Dry skin and hair loss.

As too little thyroid hormone disrupts the growth of your hair, it can cause excessive hair loss or brittle hair. Dry skin can be a sign of an under-active thyroid.

6. Constipation.

An under-active thyroid condition can cause constipation as it controls your bowel functions.

7. Increased sensitivity to cold.

If you feel cold even on warm days, your thyroid gland may not produce enough thyroid hormones to help regulate your metabolism and, therefore, your temperature.

8. Muscle aches, weakness and muscle cramps.

Low thyroid can lead to feelings of weakness as it causes a decline in muscle strength. Breaking down muscle tissue can also lead to aching. Additionally, 34% of low-thyroid individuals get muscle cramps without regular exercise or activity.3

9. Menstrual and fertility issues.

A thyroid imbalance can interrupt the body's natural hormone rhythm. With an under-active thyroid, heavier, more frequent and more painful periods can occur. An under-active thyroid can also interfere with ovulation.

10. Enlarged thyroid gland (goitre)

Low thyroid can even elevate your blood cholesterol level.

How do I get my thyroid checked?

Low thyroid is a common disorder, yet none of these problems is unique to Hypothyroidism.

An accurate thyroid function test is available to diagnose Hypothyroidism to determine if you have any thyroid problems. Taking a simple blood test to measure your hormone levels can determine any thyroid imbalance.

A thyroid function test accesses the levels of TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) and T4 (thyroxine) in the blood. Your doctor may refer to this as "free" T4 (FT4).

What tests are available?

To find out if you have a thyroid condition, the Australian Thyroid Foundation recommend diagnosis using biochemical pathology testing - TSH, T4, T3 and Thyroid Antibodies.

The below thyroid blood tests are available individually or as a full thyroid panel giving you and your doctor a comprehensive view of your thyroid function.

If your initial thyroid tests show signs of autoimmune thyroid disease, you can order one or more thyroid antibody tests to confirm this diagnosis.

Hypothyroidism vs. Hyperthyroidism: What's the difference?

Does Hypothyroidism weaken the immune system?

Many people ask if having thyroid disease means you are immunocompromised.

Thyroid disease is not considered to increase the risk of viral infections or contribute to the severity of the viral infection. The British Thyroid Foundation states, "there is some evidence that patients who have uncontrolled Hypothyroidism (i.e. very high serum TSH) have impaired immune function."

Your body's autoimmune system typically protects you by attacking bacteria and viruses. But with Hashimoto's thyroiditis, your immune system attacks your thyroid gland by mistake. Your thyroid then can't make enough thyroid hormone, so your body can't work as well. 3

Check your thyroid levels.

If your thyroid hormone levels are low, a simple treatment could significantly improve your quality of life.

Effective treatment with synthetic thyroid hormone is usually straightforward once you and your doctor find the correct dose for you. These treatments are inexpensive and safe medications.

Private blood testing is now readily available, enabling you to take a proactive interest in your health. If you are concerned about changes in your health or wish to have the data for a second opinion, you can order thyroid tests in Australia online for testing at your nearest pathology lab. Find out more here.


1. Better Health. Vic - thyroid gland

2. Bioscientifica

3. John Hopkins Medicine Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

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