What can an underactive thyroid do?
You may not give much thought to your thyroid gland, but it plays a vital role in your body. The butterfly-shaped gland situated at the base of your neck has many functions such as regulating metabolism, energy levels and other important physiological processes. But when this little fella decides to take a nap, things can get problematic. In this article, we’ll explore just what an underactive thyroid can do.
A Sleeping Beauty?
The underdog…or should we say ‘underthyroid’ is causing chaos!
Your thyroid usually produces adequate amounts of hormones T3 and T4 that keep everything ticking nicely. When something goes awry though-unfortunately- this balance gets disrupted leading to hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid where the production of these two hormones falls below par.
Mixed Bag Of Symptoms
Symptoms usually develop gradually however often go unnoticed until they become more prominent over time.
Hair loss (goodbye Rapunzel hair)
Fatigue (feeling tired even after taking multiple naps which equals confusion-about whether you’re half asleep most days…or all day long!)
Weight gain (so much for potatoes being guilt-free comfort food)
Dry skin & brittle nails(The cracks are starting to show…)
Memory impairment(Answering “What was I doing again?” now counts as Insta-story content folks)
Trouble with Digestion
Not only will your Instagram feed be royally messed up because #foodgasm #eatingfortheinsta #yum would no longer apply since food does not excite anyone who cannot stomach what he/she eats.However,constipation becomes another everyday struggle turning bowel movements into well….kindergartner poop emojis.Maybe some laxatives would help.No?Yes maybe?No … Once again,you’re completely overwhelmed by confusion doubled by gut agony.See guys , hypothyroidism does not play games.
Relationship with Sleep
Sleep can’t keep us apart
Hypothyroidism sufferers, in fact,sleep like babies (all-the-time-and-still-tired-kind-of-babies). Their metabolism slows down leading to low energy levels coupled with an insatiable hunger.Trying to lose weight? You might as well give up. Thyroid problems are here to sabotage your dreams …literally . And I’m not talking ‘get-rich-quick-schemes’…We’re talking about the sweet beauty that is proper-night sleep of course.
Sleeping but still tired?
Despite regular naps and solid sleep no matter how excessive or minimal they may be,the slippery slope doesn’t stop.The thyroid gland which is asleep-most probably-counts binge watching on Netflix rather than balancing out thyroxine & triiodothyronine leading to many problems including….
Turning over in bed unable fall back asleep again
Moodiness(especially when you remember a certain comment made by Karen from HR last week)
Breathes heavily …more frequently-about not being able breathe properly
Another problem that sneaks it’s way into hypothyroidism sufferers lives is obstruction of airways-litterally taking their breath away.
A swollen tongue along with the narrowing of vocal cords just made swallowing harder.
On top of all this ,simple tasks such as walking are harder due shortness of breath which greatly inhibit people’s active lifestyle eventually turning them into couch-potatoes!
Here’s a scientific explanation:“Oxygen demand increases during movement.When lungs cannot meet oxygen demand,dyspnoea ensues limiting movements.”
Thankfully this symptom can be treated via hormone replacement therapy.Some fresh air would help too-maybe couple it some outdoor pursuits.From Couch Potato -> Brainiac -> Superhuman: everyone has a shot at beating ‘hypothyroidism’.
First,they came for our metabolism and now they’re coming for our happiness..
Yet another symptom that rears its ugly head in hypothyroidism -Mood disorders.Anxiety as well as depression evades many people’s lives with anxiety far more common than the latter (yes… it,s just another barrier to becoming an easygoing adult).
Behind Door Number One: Depression?
With symptoms involving :
Loss of appetite (especially if all your favourite foods are now off-limits due weight gain)
Fatigue(Constant exhaustion despite multiple ways of trying to boost energy levels)
Another scientific explanation:”Thyroxine contributes towards production or regulation of serotonin.A decreased level provokes mood disorders such as depression.”
If you feel things are getting too much,worries have piled up maybe speak out… Or even consider seeking help from a qualified professional. Things will get better eventually.
Behind Door number Two:Misplaced Anxiety!
(Hipster drama alert)Too cool for low self esteem-proceed with caution…..
Under-active thyroid can also cause misplaced anxiety which arises from unrelated triggers rather than actual stressful situations leading staying-in-bed-all-day type behavior.This might not come across immediately but working on this symptom is equally important.Consider small creative outputs ,experiments.Art therapy could be helpful.There could be hidden potential-you never know!
From hair loss, dry skin & brittle nails nausea,constipation ,breathing miseries,mood swings- one thing is sure-an underactive thyroid does not make life smooth sailing.Nevertheless thanks to early diagnosis,treatments provided by hormone replacements means there still hope.So where do we go? Well,for starters-next steps should include visiting a physician and undergoing relevant lab tests.In the long run,this health hurdle would turn into speed-bump!