There are a variety of symptoms you could experience if you have a thyroid disease. Unfortunately, symptoms of a thyroid condition are often very similar to the signs of other medical conditions and stages of life. This can make it difficult to know if your symptoms are related to a thyroid issue or something else entirely.
For the most part, the symptoms of thyroid disease can be divided into two groups — those related to having too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) and those related to having too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism).
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism
- Weight loss
- Increased appetite
- Fast heart rate
- Anxiety, irritability and nervousness
- Vision problems or eye irritation
- Shaking/trembling of the hands
- Having trouble sleeping
- Greater sensitivity to heat
- Enlarged thyroid gland or a goiter
- Frequent bowel movements and/or diarrhea
- Muscle weakness and tremors
- Thin skin and brittle hair
- Changes in the menstrual cycle (usually shorter, lighter periods)
Symptoms of hypothyroidism
- Weight gain and/or difficulty losing weight
- Dry skin and hair/hair loss
- Slow heart rate
- Hoarse voice
- Intolerance or greater sensitivity to cold
- Changes in the menstrual cycle (usually longer, heavier periods)
Women & and thyroid
Women are affected by thyroid diseases at much higher rates than men are. Women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems and that 1 in 8 women will develop a thyroid problem during her lifetime.
Women 50 and older are especially prone to hypothyroidism, whereas those in their teens and 20s are prone to hyperthyroidism.
Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can be caused by autoimmune diseases that affect thyroid function. Hypothyroidism also can occur as a result of an iodine deficiency, radiation, viral infections or the surgical removal of the thyroid gland.
These conditions also may occur without any identifiable cause.