What Can Happen When the Thyroid is Not Functioning Properly?

So, thyroid problems manifest themselves in different ways and are often classified as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. There are also different medical reasons/conditions and autoimmune illnesses that can trigger problems with the thyroid. First, let's get into some symptoms because thyroid disease often goes unnoticed or can be misdiagnosed from depression to hypochondria and even masquerades as other illnesses. On top of that, triggers are many, from family history of thyroid disease, to stress, adrenal problems, to surgery recovery which can add stress to the body and trigger negative responses. Let's focus on symptoms and what you need to be on the look out for.

Here are the symptoms for Hyperthyroidism:

T = Tremor
H = Heart rate up
Y =Yawning (fatigue)
R = Restlessness
O = Oligomenorrhea & amenorrhea
I = Intolerance to heat,
D =Diarrhea
I = Irritability
S = Sweating
M = Muscle wasting & weight loss
E = Exophthalmos

Here are the symptoms for Hypothyroidism: 

                                         
  • Fatigue
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Puffy face
  • Hoarseness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Elevated blood cholesterol level
  • Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
  • Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
  • Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
  • Thinning hair
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Depression
  • Impaired memory
When hypothyroidism isn't treated, signs and symptoms can gradually become more severe. Constant stimulation of your thyroid gland to release more hormones may lead to an enlarged thyroid (goiter). In addition, you may become more forgetful, your thought processes may slow, or you may feel depressed. 
Advanced hypothyroidism, known as myxedema, is rare, but when it occurs it can be life-threatening. Signs and symptoms include low blood pressure, decreased breathing, decreased body temperature, unresponsiveness and even coma. In extreme cases, myxedema can be fatal.

This is a great chart that shows a good breakdown of what is happening when the thyroid is not functioning: 


If you or someone you love seem to be experiencing these symptoms, please, do not hesitate to talk to your doctor, research and ask for the tests you need. Get a second, third or fourth opinion if you are not being heard; even if your tests come back as normal. (Mine came back normal for 7 years!)
Some thyroid illnesses like Hashimoto's thyroiditis do not show up as abnormal on regular thyroid screening tests. I will get into this more in another post in this thyroid series. Trust me though when I say, you are NOT wrong or crazy, nor are you alone.

There is a quiet epidemic of thyroid disease and if you're a woman over 35 your odds of a thyroid disorder are high—more than 30%, by some estimates.
At least 30 million Americans have a thyroid disorder and half—15 million—are silent sufferers who are undiagnosed, according to The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Women are as much as 10 times as likely as men to have a thyroid problem, says integrative medicine specialist Robin Miller, MD, co-author of The Smart Woman’s Guide to MidLife & Beyond.

Need more statistics? Read on...

It is estimated that 200 million people in the world have some form of thyroid disease. In Canada there is a staggering number of people affected. Recent studies indicate that 1 in 10 Canadians suffer from a thyroid condition of one type or another! Of those, as many as 50% are undiagnosed!

 It's been an ongoing battle for me for the last 8 years to have doctor's listen to me, believe me, and do the proper tests that I needed. I seem to be suffering from hypothyroidism and I can look at the symptoms and do agree with most of them. The reason I say that I "seem" to be is because I am awaiting test results, the doctor's think that more is going on in my body than just hypothyroidism. I have a myriad of symptoms and difficulties that indicate more than just a thyroid issue is troubling my system. It's frustrating, overwhelming, and a big dent in my lifestyle because every day seems to be such a struggle to feel NORMAL, to do the things I took for granted before and loved so much. I just want to be healthy, fit, strong. Did I mention NORMAL? Which is all anybody really wants, at least on the health front. I will touch more on my story over the coming weeks when I know more, I finally go see the specialist next week, it's on my mind but I don't want it to absorb all my thoughts.
We pray a lot, ask God for his best and trust in Jesus.



Thanks to the following for info and to hypothyroidismsigns.com for chart pic, feel free to click the links if you want to know more, and leave your comments or story below. It's important to reach out, share your experiences, know that you are not alone in these turbulent waters. God bless.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypothyroidism/basics/symptoms/con-20021179

http://tr-i-life.tumblr.com/post/32017595712/hyperthyroidism-mnemonic  

http://biochemlab.com/blog/hypothyroidism-causes-symptoms-tests-and-diagnosis  

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20723100,00.html  

http://www.thyroid.ca/thyroid_disease.php

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