It’s easy to ignore your body when something feels off. However, subtle health issues can signal bigger things. Both hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid) can have severe consequences if left untreated. It’s crucial to check your thyroid if your experience the following symptoms, especially one pervasive issue (on page 10).
1. Your hands often tremble
Many people jump straight to Parkinson’s disease — or write it off as nervousness — when they experience trembling hands. But doctors find shaky hands to result from hyperthyroidism, especially if your hands experience severe trembling. What qualifies as “severe”? The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke classifies it as having “difficulty writing or drawing” as well as “problems holding and controlling utensils,” according to The List.
Next: No amount of lotion can help.
2. You have dry skin
So you’re going through bottles of lotion faster than you can buy them, yet your skin can’t seem to hold in the moisture. Though it might surprise you, your thyroid is in control of a lot of processes in your body, including the health of your skin. Dermato-Endocrinology notes that rough, dry skin could mean your thyroid is sluggish.
Next: A sudden, scary voice change
3. You’re hoarse
Losing your voice is to be expected after cheering on your favorite sports team for hours, but persistent issues with your throat could be cause for concern. According to EndocrineWeb, your thyroid may be kicking itself into high gear, which can cause inflammation and swelling in and around your throat.
Make sure to see your doctor for a proper examination and diagnosis, as inflammation in your throat could also be a sign of other health issues.
Next: Life is pretty dull without these senses.
4. You have diminished senses of smell and taste
Many doctors aren’t aware of the thyroid’s effect on taste and smell. However, clinical trials found a connection between hypothyroidism and these issues. Using sniffing and taste strips, the trial found those with a hypothyroid condition scored much lower in taste and smell, especially concerning sweet and bitter flavors. Noticeably, after those patients were treated for their thyroid condition for three months, their smell and taste improved.
Next: Aging can’t explain this frustrating symptom.
5. Your joints are swollen or stiff
Have you noticed your joints are a lot more stiff than they used to be? You could just be getting older — but you could also have an underactive thyroid. According to Mayo Clinic, hypothyroidism can cause joint pain, stiffness, and swelling with symptoms similar to arthritis. If your shoulder or hips are sore, or if you notice swelling in your hands or feet, it might be a good idea to get your thyroid checked just in case.