- Body’s metabolic rate
- Heart rate
- Brain development
- Peripheral and central nervous systems
- Body temperature and weight
- Muscle control and strength
- Menstrual cycles
- Bone maintenance
- Cholesterol levels
- And much more
You May Have a Thyroid Problem If…Thyroid problems are no laughing matter, but how can you tell if you have one? Unfortunately, there are multiple systems that could indicate that your hormones are off-balance. Given all of the functions that thyroids help regulate, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. A few symptoms include:
FatigueAre you constantly feeling tired no matter how much sleep you get? While there are many potential reasons for this (you’re getting sick, have an infection, anemia, etc.), a poor performing thyroid gland might be one of them. Thyroid hormones tell your muscles that they need to wake up and get moving. If they’re not doing that, you’re likely always tired.
Depression or AnxietyLike fatigue, depression and anxiety are naturally occurring feelings. If you’re discovering that you’re more depressed or anxious than usual, your thyroid may be the culprit. If your thyroids are producing too many hormones, it can overstimulate your hypothalamus – a region of your brain that controls sleep, growth, emotions, and your sex drive, to name a few. An overactive thyroid can also negatively affect your serotonin levels, which are largely responsible for your mood.
Reduced Sex DriveAs mentioned above, if your thyroid is produced too many hormones it can decrease your sex drive. While our bodies and emotions are complex and alterations to your sex drive can be caused by many things, don’t rule out your thyroid’s hormone levels. You may be able to increase your libido simply by calling your doctor and asking about thyroid testing.
Poor or Increased Appetite and/or Weight GainIf you find yourself ravenous or not hungry at all, thyroid testing might be the answer. When your thyroid gland is overactive, it could speed up your metabolism or make you always feel like you’re hungry. If you’re eating more than usual and not gaining weight or if you’re experiencing the exact opposite, get your thyroid checked.
Increased Blood PressureThyroid hormonal imbalances can also lead to high blood pressure. While the obvious culprits for this are genetics, high cholesterol, increased stress, or a variety of cardiovascular conditions, don’t rule out your thyroid gland – especially if you can rule out some of these other symptoms. Some of the other common symptoms are:
- Irregular body temperature
- Dry, rough skin
- Slowed thinking or memory loss
- Face swelling
- Muscle cramps or constant aches
- A hoarse or deeper voice
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- And the list goes on and on
Thyroid Testing OptionsYour thyroid gland produces two main hormones: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones travel through your bloodstream and reach nearly every cell in your body. While your doctor may suggest administering multiple tests to check your thyroid levels, we’re going to focus specifically on your T3 and Reverse T3 (rT3) tests.
T3Your T3 hormones frequently bind to protein, while those that don’t are known as “free T3” and circulates unbound in your blood. Your doctor will order this test if:
- Your thyroid is producing too many hormones (hyperthyroidism)
- Your pituitary gland isn’t producing the correct amount of pituitary hormones (hypopituitarism)
- You already have a confirmed thyroid problem and they need to determine if your conditions have changed
Reverse T3 (rT3)Reverse T3 is a less common form of T3. This is often ordered in conjunction with a T4 test because it’s a hormone produced from your T4’s metabolism. If you’re experiencing chronic stress, depression, brain fog, anxiety, weight fluctuations or hair loss, your doctor may recommend this test for you.
How to Naturally Balance Your Thyroid LevelsWhether you’ve already scheduled a thyroid testing appointment with your Boston primary care doctor or are thinking about one, keeping your thyroid hormones is homeostasis is fairly straightforward. There are several ways to keep them regulated. Keep your body hydrated and functional by drinking lots of water. You should also eat lots of vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage and keep a nutrition journal. Also, exercise when you can. Exercise helps alleviate many of the symptoms caused by thyroid problems (e.g. depression, low energy levels, weight gain, and mood). Last but certainly not least, find ways to reduce stress. The next time you’re feeling like your body’s imbalanced – or if your feeling that way now – don’t rule out your thyroid gland as one of the culprits. Sometimes getting your body to function regularly again is easier than you think.
Dr. Steve Zivich
My name is Dr. Steve Zivich, and I am the owner of Boston Direct Health. I attended the Commonwealth University School of Medicine and completed my Surgical Internship at the prestigious Boston Medical Center. I am passionate about sharing my knowledge of chronic illness management, obesity, diabetes, metabolic diseases, body contouring, and more. As a proud member of the LBGTQ community, I am dedicated to providing compassionate, comprehensive healthcare services to people from all walks of life. My goal is to listen to your health concerns and create a plan to help you look and feel your best. Your health is my priority.