Symptoms involving the thyroid gland, whether they stem from hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Graves’ disease, or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, reflect the damage to the various systems and organs of the body.
Damage to the thyroid gland affects the body’s metabolic rate. As a result, weight can be easily gained (hypothyroidism) or lossed (hyperthyroidism). Hashimoto’s disease can cause both weight loss and gain depending on the phase of autoimmune destruction of the thyroid gland.
Cold hands and feet are related to a low metabolism caused by hypothyroidism while a sensitivity to heat is linked to hyperthyroidism.
Cardiovascular System (Circulatory)
The cardiovascular system responds to minimal changes in the amount of circulating thyroid hormones.
Hyperthyroidism induces a hyper-dynamic cardiovascular state which manifests by a faster heart rate, higher systolic and diastolic function i.e. higher blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, and reduced exercise performance.
Insomnia is often associated with hyperthyroidism. Some of the symptoms and signs of hyperthyroidism can make sleep difficult. The stress of having a “racing” heart or palpitations, rapid pulse (above 100 beats per minute is considered tachycardia), and higher blood pressure can cause lack of sleep. nsomnia can also be related to a decreased amount of serotonin production that is linked to gut issues which are often seen with thyroid problems.
Hypothyroidism is characterized by the reverse- a lowed heart rate and lower blood pressure. With lowered thyroid hormones in circulation there is an increased risk of atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction (heart attack).
The central nervous system (CNS) can be greatly affected by a thyroid disorder. The CNS reacts to both too little and too much thyroid hormone. Too little hormone causes mental sluggishness or “brain fog” while too much hormone induces anxiety and nervousness. Depression is commonly associated with thyroid conditions.
Hypothyroidism can interrupt normal glucose metabolism which also can cause fatigue, irritability, and light-headedness.
Hypothyroidism can be related to heavy menstrual flow, miscarriage, and infertility in women. Hypothyroidism can decrease the absorption of the sex hormone, progesterone, by the body’s cells which can upset the menstrual cycle. Hypothyroidism can also cause constipation which can delay the body’s normal elimination of another sex hormone, estrogen.
Chronic constipation is associated with hypothyroidism while diarrhea or frequent bowel movements are linked with hyperthyroidism. These symptoms are partly due to altered metabolism but also are created by faulty digestion beginning in the stomach. Hypothyroidism can reduce the production of stomach acid by its effect on the hormone, gastrin. When too little gastrin is produced, this reduces the amount of stomach acid (HC1). Bloating, G.E.R.D., heartburn, intestinal inflammation, decreased food digestion and more can result from the lack of normal HC1 levels.
Food allergies are consistently seen in those presenting with thyroid problems. Beyond gluten sensitivity, which most people are aware of, there are other food allergens to which patients will test positive.
Anemia and Adrenals
Fatigue can result from hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease for several reasons. Anemia is commonly associated with these two conditions which can result in fatigue but there also is impaired glucose metabolism, adrenal gland involvement, and neurological affects that can decrease the body’s energy levels.