7 Little-Known Symptoms Of Thyroid Issues To Look Out For

by Carina Wolff
Originally Published: 
BDG Media, Inc.

Most people know that if they have a thyroid issue, it could mess with aspects of their health like their energy levels. But there are also some other side effects of thyroid issues, and they might come as more of a surprise to you. Because your thyroid function can affect many areas of your body, there are a number of things to look out for when you have thyroid issues, even if you're not engaging in any habits that seem risky or unhealthy.

"The thyroid regulates our body's metabolism," family and emergency medicine doctor, Janette Nesheiwat, M.D., tells Bustle. "It is such an important vital gland in our body. "Its normal function is critical in almost every aspect of our life, from regulating heart beat to mood and temperature sensation. If you have been diagnosed with hypo- (which is more common) or hyperthyroidism, it's important to see your doctor regularly to check your thyroid levels."

Everyone experiences different responses to thyroid issues in their body, but knowing what to keep an eye out for can help keep your health in check and make sure nothing is slipping through the cracks. Here are seven unexpected things you have to look out for when you have thyroid issues.


High Cholesterol

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If you're someone with thyroid issues, you might find that you are more prone to high cholesterol levels. "Untreated thyroid disorder can cause high cholesterol because the body can't break down cholesterol," Dr. Nesheiwat says. This tends to happen more with hypothyroidism, as without the proper levels of thyroid hormones, your body can't get rid of the cholesterol it doesn't need, according to Healthline. With hyperthyroidism, cholesterol levels can drop too low. If you have been diagnosed with either of these disorders, speak with your doctor about the best ways to balance your cholesterol levels.


Heart Palpitations

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When your body's metabolic processes are disrupted, your heart can beat irregularly. "Too much thyroid hormones can increase your heart rate," Dr. Nesheiwat says. "You can develop whats called tachycardia, which can result in a life-threatening heart rhythm, causing strokes or heart attacks. An under-active thyroid can cause blood pressure problems, which can result in headache/dizziness/weakness." If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, be sure to see your doctor ASAP.


Fluctuations In Body Temperature

Since your thyroid regulates body temperature, you may find that you're more sensitive to environmental temperature, oftentimes feeling too cold or too hot. People with hypothyroidism tend to be cold, while hyperthyroidism can make people feel more hot.


Weak Nails

Having trouble with brittle and broken nails? Your thyroid may be to blame. "Your nails can become cracked easily if you have low tyrosine or selenium levels, which is commonly seen in hypothyroidism," Dr. Neheiwat says. A slowed metabolism can also lead to more dryness in the body, which could make it more likely for your nails to become brittle, according to Harvard Health.


Troubles With Cruciferous Vegetables

"Some research has suggested that large amounts of cruciferous vegetables may have a negative effect on thyroid health, specifically slowing down thyroid function," internist Dr. Holly Phillips tells Bustle. However, thyroid patients do not have avoid to avoid these foods altogether. "Just make sure you don't overdo raw veggies (especially leafy greens like spinach, kale)," she says. "Go for sautéed instead. Cooking the veggies releases the enzymes that can potentially harm your thyroid."


Dairy Interfence

Thyroid replacement therapy is best taken in the morning, but that also happens to be the time coffee drinkers best like to indulge in their cup of joe. "If you take your coffee with milk or cream, the calcium in the dairy products can interfere with thyroid hormone absorption, so even though you're taking your medicine on time, you might not be getting the full effect," Dr. Phillips says. "Wait at least an hour after coffee to take your medicine."


Anxiety & Depression

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"Depression and anxiety are some features of thyroid disease that many don't realize could be due to a thyroid disorder," Dr. Neheiwat says. Thyroid disfunction shares many symptoms with anxiety and depression, including fatigue, fuzzy thinking, insomnia, and more. Treatment can help with relief of these symptoms, but oftentimes people get misdiagnosed with just a mental health disorder when they're thyroid may actually be involved.

Because your thyroid function affects so much of your body, it can cause issues in other areas that you might not even realize. Paying attention to these aspects of your health, and talking with your doctor about them, can help ensure you feel your best.

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