If you've been feeling sluggish lately, it might be more than just the post-lunch slump. Hypothyroidism could be the culprit. Over half of Americans with a thyroid condition are entirely unaware of the problem.
Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, is when the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough thyroid hormones. These hormones control your body's metabolism, affecting everything from your heart rate to how quickly you burn calories.
But sometimes, the symptoms of hypothyroidism can be so subtle that they're easy to overlook or attribute to other causes.
If you're experiencing any subtle symptoms of an underactive thyroid, don't wait any longer. Get back on track with the help of our expert team at Ageless Restoration, led by Gordon Hart, PA-C, and Brian A. Yeaman, MD.
Here are four lesser-known signs that you might have an underactive thyroid.
You're always cold
If you're constantly reaching for a sweater while everyone else seems comfortable, this could be a sign of hypothyroidism.
Thyroid hormones help regulate body temperature, and when these hormone levels are low, it can make you feel colder than usual. One of the roles of these hormones is to regulate your metabolism, which includes the generation of heat in your body.
When you have hypothyroidism, the lack of thyroid hormones slows your metabolism, which means your body generates less heat. As a result, you might feel cold all the time, even when others around you are comfortable. This is because your body can't maintain its normal temperature due to the slower metabolic rate.
Your skin is dry and itchy
Dry, itchy skin isn't just a winter nuisance — it could be a symptom of hypothyroidism. Lower levels of thyroid hormones can slow your body's metabolism, leading to reduced sweating. The result? Skin that's dry and itchy.
One of the ways thyroid hormones affect your skin is through the regulation of your body's metabolism. A healthy metabolism ensures that your skin cells renew themselves regularly, keeping your skin hydrated and healthy.
But when you have hypothyroidism, the lower levels of thyroid hormones slow your metabolism. This slowdown can lead to decreased sweating, which is one way your body naturally moisturizes your skin. As a result, your skin may become dry and itchy.
You feel depressed or anxious
Mental health is complex. Many factors can contribute to feelings of depression or anxiety, but thyroid hormones also play a role in brain function, and a deficiency can affect your mood.
When thyroid hormone levels are low, it can slow the metabolic activity in your brain, leading to changes in mood and cognition. This can result in depression and anxiety.
And the physical fatigue and other symptoms associated with hypothyroidism, like weight gain or difficulty concentrating, can exacerbate feelings of depression and anxiety.
You experience memory problems
Do you forget things more often than usual? Memory problems can be a sign of many conditions, including hypothyroidism. The lack of sufficient thyroid hormones can slow cognitive function, leading to issues with memory and focus.
The thyroid hormones play a crucial role in maintaining the health and functioning of neurons, which transmit information in the brain. A deficiency in these hormones due to hypothyroidism can slow the brain's metabolic activity, leading to cognitive impairment, including problems with memory.
Research has shown that individuals with hypothyroidism may experience learning, memory, attention, and processing speed difficulties. The lack of thyroid hormones can affect the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in memory formation.
If you're experiencing these symptoms, remember that other health conditions can also cause them. But if you're concerned about the possibility of hypothyroidism, call us at Ageless Restoration in Norman, Oklahoma, or request an appointment online today.
By being aware of these subtle signs, you can take the first step toward getting the help you need.