Symptoms of a Sluggish Thyroid
The thyroid — a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the neck — plays a key role in many of the body’s metabolic processes. For instance, this gland secretes a number of hormones that influence body temperature, metabolism, heart rate, growth, and development.
Thyroid disorders are very common. In fact, it is estimated that more than 10 percent of the general population of the United States, and 20 percent of women over the age of 60, have subclinical hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid). While the exact causes of hypothyroidism remain unclear, the condition has been linked to a number of factors, including genetics, pregnancy, nutritional deficiencies, stress, and environmental toxins. Because the symptoms are often vague, many cases go undetected.
The initial symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as unexplained fatigue and weight gain, are usually subtle and often attributed to the natural aging process. However, as the metabolism continues to slow, more obvious signs and symptoms may develop, such as:
- Increased sensitivity to cold temperatures
- Dry skin
- Facial puffiness
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle aches
- Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling
- Heavy or irregular menstrual periods
- Thinning hair
- Elevated blood cholesterol
- Slower heart rate
- Memory loss
If you have any of these symptoms, you may want to see a doctor to have your thyroid checked. Hypothyroidism can often be managed with synthetic thyroid replacement hormones. However, it’s important to keep in mind that testing and treating a thyroid disorder can require some trial and error. Therefore, it may take some time to develop an appropriate treatment plan to help you feel better. Your doctor may also suggest some lifestyle changes as well, such as eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, and managing your stress level.
If you have questions about hypothyroidism or would like to see a doctor, please contact or visit the South Tampa Immediate Care walk-in clinic on South Howard Avenue in Tampa, FL.