Just because you’ve added another candle to the cake doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking and feeling your best. A few aches and pains are normal, but when symptoms start to affect your everyday life, don’t simply blame them on aging.
While women face thyroid problems more often, men certainly aren’t exempt. Both typically experience similar symptoms – all of which can be improved tremendously by hormone replacement.
While we’ve heard about thyroid disorders in the past – in high school health class or thumbing through brochures at the doctor’s office – most people don’t understand what functions the thyroid gland performs, or realize when there might be a thyroid problem.
Signs and Symptoms of Thyroid Issues
Here are the basics: The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly and resides in your neck, where a bowtie would sit. It pumps out hormones that regulate the metabolism, and when production goes awry, the metabolism either speeds up or slows down. This, of course, causes a number of problems, including the following:
1. Constant Fatigue: If your energy levels have bottomed out and your mood has sunk along with them, hypothyroidism could be to blame. Fatigue, mood swings and depression are all signs that thyroid hormone levels are too low.
2. Anxiety/Irritability: When the thyroid gland shifts into overdrive, the abundance of hormones can trigger anxiety, irritability, restlessness and difficulty sleeping.
3. Hair Loss: A hormone imbalance not only affects how you feel, but the way you look, too. When hormone levels are too high or too low, many people experience hair loss. The good news is that hair returns to its normal volume once hormone balance is restored. Dry skin and brittle nails are other signs that affect appearance.
4. Weight Fluctuation: When thyroid hormones dip below their normal levels, also known as hypothyroidism, weight gain is often the result. On the other hand, a seemingly unexplainable weight loss occurs when hormone production peaks. This is called hyperthyroidism. Weight gain associated with hypothyroidism, however, occurs far more often. Other tummy troubles, such as constipation and change in appetite, can be chalked up to thyroid imbalance, too.
5. Muscle/Joint Pain: When your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, nerve damage can occur. Because these nerves send signals darting around the body, many sufferers experience pain, tingling and numbness in their extremities. If these sensations can’t be explained, it’s best to consult a professional.
6. Sensitivity to Temperature: Because hormones play a pivotal role in body temperature regulation, people suffering from an imbalance often feel like their “internal thermostat” is off. Lowcountry summers can be brutal, but if you’re sweating more than normal, a hormone assessment is recommended. The same is advised for someone who complains of feeling cold more often than usual.
7. Neck Swelling: While a swollen neck, also known as a goiter, isn’t a definitive sign of a thyroid disorder, it often accompanies one. If you notice lumps or swelling, a hormone assessment is in order.
If you’re ready to feel like yourself again, come visit the friendly, knowledgeable professionals at Better Life Carolinas. We’ll conduct a hormone assessment to determine if an imbalance is to blame – and help you get back to a better place!
Dr. Mickey Barber was CEO/CMO of Cenegenics Carolinas for ten years and founded Better Life, an Age Management and Wellness Center. She graduated from The College of Charleston, completed medical school at The Medical University of South Carolina, did her residency at Tulane University, and finished her fellowship at Harvard. She also was an assistant professor at Tulane University. Throughout her academic and private practice, she passionately pursued her interest in health, nutrition, exercise, and mind-body medicine. Further studies and certification in Age Management Medicine allow her to combine her unique interests and training to empower her patients to live vigorous, healthy lives at any age. In November 2012, Dr. Barber was awarded the top honor in her field and presented with the Alan P. Mintz Award for Clinical Excellence in Age Management Medicine.