Health Facts: Tired … thinning hair . . . tearful? It may be your thyroid gland

THE THYROID GLAND is a butterfly shaped organ that sits in the lower front of the neck. It’s job is to make thyroid hormones, which are secreted into the bloodstream and taken to every tissue in the body. Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism, energy levels, and affect your appetite, body warmth, sleep, and mood. Symptoms may develop if your thyroid gland is underactive (hypothyroidism).


Hypothyroidism is an underactive thyroid gland. This occurs if the gland does not make enough thyroid hormone. Some causes are radiation treatment, thyroid surgery, and autoimmune disease. When your thyroid is hypo functioning, the body slows down.


• Fatigue, trouble awakening in the morning, need for more sleep, and increased sleepiness during the day
• Cold intolerance
• Dry, itchy skin
• Dry, brittle, thinning hair
• Weight gain or difficulty losing weight with a decreased appetite
• Forgetfulness and slower thinking
• Muscle cramps and joint aches
• Pins and needles in the hands and feet
• Constipation
• Swellings around the face, hands, ankles, and feet
• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Heavier and/or more frequent menstrual periods
• Depressed mood
• Swelling in the front of the neck (goiter)

Additionally, hypothyroidism, can result in changes that you cannot feel. These include a slower heart rate, elevated cholesterol levels, and increased risk of hardening of your arteries.

If you are concerned about your thyroid function, a visit to your primary care physician is advised. During this visit, you will likely discuss your symptoms, have a physical examination, and a thyroid panel, which is blood test.


• Thyroid disease has a genetic predisposition, so tell your doctor if you have a family history of thyroid disease.

• Hypothyroidism in children can result in delayed growth.

This article is sponsored by Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center.



BIO: Dr. Trishanna Sookdeo is a board-certified family medicine physician. She has a Master’s in Public Health and is a volunteer faculty, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at UCF COM. She provides compassionate and quality care to the whole family, ages three days and up. If you have questions or wish to schedule an appointment, call (863) 419-2420, ext. 2, and ask for Dr. Sookdeo.

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