Thyroid Levels: Symptoms of Low Thyroid

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A low thyroid, also sometimes known as an ‘underactive thyroid’ or technically ‘hypothyroidism’, is a condition in which the thyroid gland is ‘underactive’ – I.e. it produces fewer thyroid hormones. These thyroid hormones are partly what regulate our metabolism and so this causes the metabolism to slow down resulting in weight gain and tiredness among others.

The Metabolism

Firstly it is important to understand what is meant by our metabolism. Essentially our metabolism is what takes care of our catabolic and anabolic functions. These two functions contain processes crucial for our body but are very different. Catabolism is what happens when your body breaks down molecules in your body and uses them for energy. Generally this is what happens when you are awake and it means that you burn fat and in some cases muscle and other tissue (when you run out of fat) in order to power your movements. Anabolism meanwhile is what happens on the other end of the spectrum, where your body is taking the food particles such as the amino acids and using them to rebuild tissue – to help you to grow and to rebuild muscle, heal wounds and store fat for later use. As a general rule we are in a catabolic state while we are awake and an anabolic state when we are sleeping – we burn tissue throughout the day and rebuild our bodies as we rest.

Thus if you have an underactive thyroid, the body is not as efficient in providing itself with energy, or at rebuilding and maintaining tissue. This is what results in the range of symptoms below.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

• Tiredness/lethargy

• Feeling cold

• Dry/pale/flaking skin

• Soreness

• Weakness

• Slow movements

• Thinning hair

• Brittle nails

• Depression

• Weight gain

• Constipation

• Loss of concentration

• Loss of libido/fertility

• Slower heart rate

• Heavy and irregular menstrual periods in women

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