Thyroid Symptoms and Signs


Thyroid Symptoms

Symptoms involving the thyroid gland, whether they stem from hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Graves' disease, or Hashimoto's thyroiditis, reflect the damage to the various systems and organs of the body.

Thyroid Gland

Damage to the thyroid gland affects the body's metabolic rate. As a result, weight can be easily gained (hypothyroidism) or lossed (hyperthyroidism). Hashimoto's disease can cause both weight loss and gain dependent on the phase of autoimmune destruction of the thyroid gland.

Cold hands and feet are related to a low metabolism caused by hypothyroidism while a sensitivity to heat is linked to hyperthyroidism.

Cardiovascular System (Circulatory)

The cardiovascular system responds to minimal changes in the amount of circulating thyroid hormones.

Hyperthyroidism induces a hyper-dynamic cardiovascular condition which manifests by a faster heart rate, higher systolic and diastolic function ie higher blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, and reduced exercise performance.

Insomnia is often associated with hyperthyroidism. Some of the symptoms and signs of hyperthyroidism can make sleep difficult. The stress of having a "racing" heart or palpitations, rapid pulse (above 100 beats per minute is considered tachycardia), and higher blood pressure can cause lack of sleep. nsomnia can also be related to a decreased amount of serotonin production that is linked to gut issues which are often seen with thyroid problems.

Hypothyroidism is characterized by the reverse- a low heart rate and lower blood pressure. With reduced thyroid hormones in circulation there is an increased risk of atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction (heart attack).

Nervous System

The central nervous system (CNS) can be greatly affected by a thyroid disorder. The CNS reacts to both too little and too much thyroid hormone. Too little hormone causes mental sluggishness or "brain fog" while too much hormone induces anxiety and nervousness. Depression is commonly associated with thyroid conditions.

Hypothyroidism can interrupt normal glucose metabolism which also can cause fatigue, irritability, and light-headedness.

Reproductive System

Hypothyroidism can be related to heavy menstrual flow, miscarriage, and infertility in women. Hypothyroidism can decrease the absorption of the sex hormone, progesterone, by the body's cells which can upset the menstrual cycle. Hypothyroidism can also cause constipation which can delay the body's normal elimination of another sex hormone, estrogen.

Digestive System

Chronic constipation is associated with hypothyroidism while diarrhea or frequent bowel movements are linked with hyperthyroidism. These symptoms are due due to altered metabolism but also are created by faulty digestion beginning in the stomach. Hypothyroidism can reduce the production of stomach acid by its effect on the hormone, gastrin. When too little gastrin is produced, this reduces the amount of stomach acid (HC1). Bloating, GERD, heartburn, intestinal infection, reduced food digestion and more can result from the lack of normal HC1 levels.

Food allergies are consistently seen in those presenting with thyroid problems. Beyond gluten sensitivity, which most people are aware of, there are other food allergens to which patients will test positive.

Anemia and Adrenals

Fatigue can result from hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's disease for several reasons. Anemia is commonly associated with these two conditions which can result in fatigue but there is also impaired glucose metabolism, adrenal gland involvement, and neurological effects that can decrease the body's energy levels.