Sunday, 24 May 2020

What are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism is a situation where there is too much thyroid hormones in the body.  Because the thyroid controls metabolism and temperature, when the thyroid is overactive, it means increased metabolic processes leading to weight loss without trying and increased body temperature, often resulting in more sweating. 

Other symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  •       High blood pressure
  •     Rapid heart rate
  •        Anxiety or nervousness
  •        Difficulty sleeping
  •        Frequent bowel movements
  •        Hair loss or brittle hair
  •        Menstrual cycle irregularity
  •        Muscular weakness

Hyperthyroidism is more common in women than it is in men.  The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is autoimmune thyroiditis causing inflammation in the thyroid.  Diagnosis is done through a blood test that measures the TSH, free T4, Free T3 and Thyroid antibodies.  

Autoimmune hyperthyroidism is called Graves disease.  Graves disease patients often have eyes that appear too big (called exophthalmos).

Severe hyperthyroidism can be life threatening, therefore if you have persistent symptoms above, consult a qualified healthcare practitioner and investigate.

Friday, 22 May 2020

Are you tired and overweight? You may be having an underactive thyroid

When the thyroid is underactive or subclinically underactive (I shall explain the subclinical term I used deliberately here), you may have the following symptoms:

  •           Unexplained weight gain
  •           Difficulty losing weight
  •          Constipation despite good hydration and fibre intake
  •           Low energy and libido
  •           Feeling cold all the time, or feel the cold too easily
  •           Dry flaky skin
  •           Hair loss or brittle hair
  •           Depressed, confused and difficulty concentrating
  •           Fluid retention
  •           Husky voice without a sore throat
  •           Pre menstrual tension
  •           Infertility /difficulty conceiving

The thyroid can be underactive (through blood tests) or subclinically underactive.  By subclinically I mean the blood test results are still within the range but you have all or some of the above symptoms.

For example, the most common test ordered for the thyroid is Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) which is produced by your pituitary in the brain.  The higher the number for TSH, it means the more effort your pituitary has to put in for your thyroid to produce hormones.  Think about it as a mum asking her child to do his/her homework.  She asks in a nice calm tone initially.  And if the child does not respond, she speaks louder with her instructions, and if the child still refuses to respond, mum raises her voice (which mean TSH goes up).  The range is large to be considered “normal”, and often patients think that anything in the normal range means they are fine.  Not so with the thyroid numbers.  The same applies for thyroid hormones Free T4 and Free T3.

The other important marker to consider for the thyroid is thyroid antibodies.  The higher the antibodies, the harder your body is attacking against the thyroid.

Watch my Youtube video here on home help that you can implement to help an underactive thyroid.  If you have persistent symptoms, please seek the help from a qualified healthcare professional.  We offer functional tests here to measure all 7 markers of the thyroid.