What symptoms occur when your thyroid gland function declines? Many vital functions in your body start to go wrong when your thyroid gland starts to fail. 

You may notice yourself gaining weight and feeling more tired. Your diastolic blood pressure rises due to systemic vascular resistance. Your so-called bad cholesterol (LDL) rises. You start to have reduced exercise tolerance. You begin to have alterations in thought processes and your memory starts to decline. 

Some hypothyroid patients have feelings of depression or a decreased libido. Other common symptoms of irregular thyroid function are: cold hands and feet, headaches, fluid retention, muscle aches, and dry skin. Hair loss is common and hair can easily thin out and become brittle. Your voice may become hoarse or you may have a tingling sensation in your hands. You can also have bouts of constipation.  

Don’t overlook your thyroid gland. Stress plays a strong role in thyroid disorder by overproducing a hormone in your body called cortisol. This cortisol inhibits your TSH or your thyroid stimulating hormone. This in turn inhibits the production of your T4 and T3 hormones in your body.

I’ve had patients who have seen other doctors and were told not to worry about their symptoms only to find out later that their thyroid was at fault. If you have any of the symptoms above, it’s important to talk with your doctor and get your thyroid levels (TSH, T3, T4, rT3-reverse T3) checked. If your levels are low, have your doctor design a plan (including lifestyle modifications and/or medication) to get your thyroid levels to optimal performance, so you can feel like yourself again. 

Dr. Paul Leavitt is a local physician.

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