“I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread.”
Are you feeling this way? You are, and don’t know why? Eating well, you know, eating clean (I hate the saying ‘eating clean’ by the way because by people’s definition of eating clean doesn’t remove foods that cause illness and disease)? Getting adequate rest on most nights, working out so you are physically working your body? Yes? But you are still tired.
What about weakness? Not making strength gains and generally feel weak or weaker? Do you find it cold most of the times where as others around you are comfortable? Maybe mentally you aren’t feeling the best either, struggling at times with depression.
I don’t want to sound like a commercial for a drug but if this sounds like you, you might be experiencing thyroid issues, specifically hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is an under active thyroid gland. Basically your thyroid isn’t producing enough of certain important hormones.
And this can take time. You may be having thyroid issues for quite a while but it isn’t until now or lately that the symptoms have manifested enough that they have become obvious. Let’s look at the symptoms that come along with hypothyroidism:
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Dry skin
- Weight gain
- Puffy face
- Muscle weakness
- Elevated blood cholesterol level
- Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
- Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
- Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
- Thinning hair
- Slowed heart rate
- Impaired memory
Do you have any of these? Do you have a lot of these? Have you been dealing with these things over a long period of time? If you have please see your doctor as soon as you can as left untreated hypothyroidism over time will cause the thyroid gland to enlarge and can become life threatening.
If you are dealing with some of these things it’s always a good idea to bring them up with your doctor. You could be dealing with some of these things and not have hypothyroidism. But you don’t know for sure until you see your doctor and have tests run. Hopefully you are someone who is in tune with your body, you are honest with yourself with respect to knowing what you eat, how you are sleeping and your workout ethic. Also being aware of when things change. If your life has remained more or less constant over a long period of time and you start sensing changes such as the above symptoms then for sure see your doctor. I’m fortunate that I live in Canada and going to my doctor is as easy and is as cheap as picking up my phone and making an appointment. We get used to this luxury and then get caught up in the difficulty of having to take time off of work to do this, and having to get to our doctor. But, the alternative is worse. If you happen to have hypothyroidism and leave it untreated it can get devastatingly worse. Take yourself a sick day so you are able to take care of yourself and not end up having to take a lot of sick days because of the consequences of something being left untreated.
Let’s look at what can happen over time if hypothyroidism is left untreated:
- Heart problems: Your LDL cholesterol (the ‘bad’ cholesterol) level may rise possibly leading to an enlarged heart and heart failure
- Mental health: depression may occur and may even become severe. Hypothyroidism may also cause slowed mental functioning
- Peripheral neuropathy: Pain, numbness in areas possibly in your legs and arms. Muscle weakness or loss of muscle control
- Goiter: If the thyroid gland becomes enlarged you may develop a goiter which can interfere with breathing and swallowing
Unlike an under active thyroid gland, hyperthyroidism is the result of an over active thyroid gland. Hyperthyroidism can accelerate your body’s metabolism significantly, causing sudden weight loss, a rapid or irregular heartbeat, sweating, and nervousness or irritability.
Are you experiencing any of the following:
- Sudden weight loss, even when your appetite and the amount and type of food you eat remain the same or even increase
- Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) — commonly more than 100 beats a minute — irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) or pounding of your heart (palpitations)
- Increased appetite
- Nervousness, anxiety and irritability
- Tremor — usually a fine trembling in your hands and fingers
- Changes in menstrual patterns
- Increased sensitivity to heat
- Changes in bowel patterns, especially more frequent bowel movements
- An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), which may appear as a swelling at the base of your neck
- Fatigue, muscle weakness
- Difficulty sleeping
- Skin thinning
- Fine, brittle hair
Does this sound like you? Are you having to deal with some, or a lot of these symptoms? See your doctor.
Try to always be in tune with your body, with your health. Be honest with yourself. Sometimes it sucks to do that, to be honest with yourself but if you do it it only benefits you. It helps you to get to what the issue is. No one wants to be that hypochondriac. If you are honest with yourself and you are dealing with the above symptoms and you are pretty certain that its not due to other things such as a poor diet, lack of exercise, dealing with traumatic emotional issues then see your doctor.
Take care of yourself. Use those resources that are there for you to do this.
Don’t ever feel guilty about doing that.
Yours in health,