The thyroid is considered to be the “master regulator” of our body's metabolism. The function of the thyroid gland is to take iodine, found in many foods, and convert it into thyroid hormones, which are released into the blood stream and are transported throughout the body where they control metabolism (conversion of oxygen and calories to energy). Every cell in the body depends upon thyroid hormones for regulation of their metabolism.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism can include fatigue, depression, weight gain, dry skin and hair as well as hair loss, muscle and joint pains, sensitivity to cold, cold extremities and low mood or depression, along with many other chronic and debilitating symptoms. Low thyroid can also be linked to increased levels of LDL or "bad" cholesterol and heart disease.
Signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism can include a sudden and unexplained weight loss, rapid heart rate, an increase in feeling sweaty and feeling nervous and/or moody. Additional symptoms may include changes in hair texture, becoming finer with hair loss/thinning.
If left untreated, both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can bring about long-term affects on the heart, causing electrical/rhythm issues, an increase in atherosclerotic/plaque growth, as well as a change in structure and/or function of the heart.
Unfortunately, providers don't just routinely work up these problems UNLESS our patient is demonstrating signs or symptoms that would lead us to think there's a thyroid problem. What we need to take from this is to learn and pay attention to our body and what it's telling us, and seek help when we have a change in signs and symptoms.