Low thyroid function is a common issue among people I talk to and it actually effects more than 30 million women and 15 million men. This condition is also referred to as hypothyroid or hypothyroidism. These conditions can be especially frustrating if you are trying to lose weight.
If you are seeing these signs, go talk to your doctor about getting a blood work done to test your thyroid panel and evaluate the function of your thyroid. The test at a minimum should check the following areas:
- TSH (Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone) – this evaluates the overall thyroid function
- T4 (Thyroxine) – this evaluates the total amount of T4 produced by the thyroid
- Free T4 (Thyroxine) – this evaluates the amount of the T4 available to your tissues and cells
- Free T3 (Triiodothyronine) – this measures the amount of T3 available to your tissues and cells
- RT3 (Reverse Triiodothyronine) – this measures the amount of the RT3 which is a metabolite of T4
- Thyroid Antibodies Test – helps diagnose an autoimmune thyroid disease and to distinguish it from other forms of thyroid disfunction.
Note that many doctors do NOT test the RT3 and Thyroid Antibodies so make sure you request that it be done and be sure they do it! This test does not require fasting. Take your medications as prescribed. However, do not take any supplements on the day of the test.
If you are having trouble losing weight there are 15 common signs that could mean its a thyroid issue:
Extra Body Weight
One sign of struggling thyroid function is extra body weight. Weight gain can actually put stress on your thyroid not just contribute to the weight gain itself. Underweight people can also have a thyroid issue as well causing issues with getting to a proper body weight.
Anyone who has done the “yo-yo” dieting runs a risk of having put too much stress on their metabolism, basically getting it out of sync and causing metabolism issues. Gaining and losing and gaining and losing will cause and issue and the more you have done that the great your chances this is a problem.
Your body burns calories to get your energy in place so that means in your energy is lacking your calories are turning to fat instead of fuel. There is NO chance that if your thyroid is functioning properly that you should feel fatigued.
You Always Feel Cold
Same as above if your body is burning calories it also produces heat. If you feel cold a lot your body may not be making enough heat. When a calorie is burned it produces 65% energy and 35% heat so if your body is not functioning properly the coldness you feel is the lack of that heat being produced.
You Feel Heavy Headed
This is where the T4 and T3 really comes into play! Your brain cells can convert T4 to T3 and take makes you feel awake and alert. When this is not taking place that is when you feel heavy headed or like you have brain fog.
Energy Bottoms Out
If you are feeling like your afternoons are best spent napping then there is a very good chance your thyroid is not functioning right. The problem is that is you push yourself through that afternoon and not take a nap then that tends to end up in you overeating and/or brining your metabolism to a screeching halt.
Swelling and Tenderness
Sometimes sinuses drain and we get a scratchy sounding voice, tenderness or even some swelling where our thyroid gland is located. This can cause the thyroid to have issues. Other things like chemicals in your food and water can stress your thyroid as well.
Everybody poops! But when you do not go regularly this can be a sign that your thyroid is not functioning right because the thyroid hormone helps to promote proper bowel movements. Now there are lots of things that can cause constipation, but your thyroid actually can be involved. If you are prone to being constipated this can make weight loss very difficult.
There are lots of studies out there that you can research that have shown that if the outside part of your eyebrows are thinning that your thyroid is under stress.
Dry skin can be caused by a lack of hydration or a lack of good oils in your diet as well as from things like chemicals and other outside factors. But when your thyroid is not functioning right and you are constipated then your skin may be getting used by your body as a way to expel toxins as an alternative to the usual routes.
Your elbows are one part of your body that are actually sensitive to fatty acids. If your thyroid is not functioning properly you could be seeing rough patches on your elbows or even some dark patches on them.
Weak Achy Muscles
If your muscle feel lie they don’t have any energy or you get cramps in your muscles when you use them this could point to a thyroid issue because if your thyroid was functioning properly it would be working with your hormones to optimize muscle functions.
Finger Nail Ridges
If you can look at your fingernails and see vertical ridges in them then you may be lacking very important nutrients in your system. Most commonly you have an iron deficiency and if that is the case then the thyroid can be impacted because iron is used inside your cells to implement thyroid hormone instructions and your cells end up not able to carry out their tasks the right way, which also results in fatigue.
Thin Brittle Finger Nails
Just like above you are lacking some pretty important nutrients in your system. The keys here to look at are sulphur and zinc because they work with the calcium in your body and your protein in order to form hard nails. Zinc is also needed by your cells to get the information the thyroid is sending out and the sulphur is required in order to covert T4 to T3. This is why weak brittle nails could be a sure fire sign that your thyroid is struggling.
Your Hair Falls Out
Did you ever take a shower an see big clumps of hair coming out? If you lack proper nutrition you hair is one of the first things that will suffer. The nutrients that form hair and that work with your thyroid are dietary protein, B Vitamins, sulfur, and iron. Hair falling out, thinning, lacking luster, or becoming more brittle are all changes that reflect poor metabolism of energy.