Do you feel tired often, even after a good night’s sleep? Has your period been irregular? Have you been suffering from mood changes of late? Chances are that you might have an under-active thyroid, which is behind these and many other problems that are interfering with your day-to-day activities.
A butterfly-shaped gland situated just above the Adam’s apple, the thyroid is an endocrine gland (gland that secretes hormones directly into the blood rather than a duct) that regulates the body’s metabolism. It makes two important hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and tetraiodothyronine (T4), that determine how your cells use energy.
A decrease in these hormones results in hypothyroidism, which then interferes with the body’s normal metabolic functions such as heart rate and blood pressure. We list the 10 early signs of hypothyroidism that you must watch out for.
1. Unexplained Weight Gain
One of the earliest warning signs of an under-active thyroid gland is unexplained weight gain caused by low levels of T3 and T4 hormones that slow down the body’s metabolism. People who suffer from hypothyroidism not only face an increase in body weight, they also have trouble managing it, even after following a rigorous diet and exercise regime.
2. Slower Heart Rate
Thyroid hormones may also interfere with the heart beats and people with hypothyroidism may develop bradycardia (slow heart rate in which the heart beats at less than 60 times a minute).
3. Persistent Fatigue
If you feel tired even after a good night’s sleep, it could be an early symptom of an under-active thyroid gland. Low levels of thyroid hormones slow down the process by which oxygen enters the cells, resulting in chronic fatigue that makes it tough for you to exercise or even complete your daily chores.
4. Swelling In The Neck
An abnormal enlargement or swelling of the neck (goiter) could be another telltale sign. The primary function of the thyroid gland is to concentrate iodine from the blood to make the two thyroid hormones. An iodine deficiency interferes with this functioning, resulting in hypothyroidism.
The pituitary gland in the brain, which senses the low thyroid levels, then secretes the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in order to compensate for the lack of hormones, causing the thyroid to grow in size. This results in the formation of a goiter.
5. Hair Fall
Hair follicles follow a natural cycle of growth and resting phases, which can be disrupted by the hormonal imbalances caused by hypothyroidism. This can lead to hair fall.
6. Increased Sensitivity To Cold
The low levels of thyroid hormones disrupt the body’s metabolism, resulting in an abnormal sensitivity to cold and affect the body’s ability to regulate its temperature.
8. Brittle Nails
Hypothyroidism slows down the growth of nails and makes them brittle. The nails become soft, have pale nail beds and get chipped easily.
Low levels of thyroid hormones weaken the contractions of the digestive tract, causing stools to move slowly and result in constipation.
10. Menstrual Irregularities
Hypothyroidism can trigger hormonal imbalances that could make your menstrual cycle irregular.