Signs You Need Your Thyroid Checked

Thyroid problems are not only a women's issue. Though women do experience thyroid abnormalities more often than men, they can affect anyone and everyone. Your thyroid is a gland responsible for releasing essential hormones — meaning that no matter who you are or what your lifestyle is like, an under- or overactive thyroid can throw your hormones out of whack.

Stress, Sleep, and 10 Other Signs You Need Your Thyroid Checked Gallery

Thyroid disorders are often overlooked and misdiagnosed. This is because hormonal changes result in symptoms that are really common and often mean something else. Your thyroid can effect your metabolism, for instance — but so can your diet, genetics, and other lifestyle factors.

The key to knowing what signs to look for is in understanding the basics of how your thyroid works. Your thyroid releases two main hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Both T4 and T3 are messengers that slow or speed up your body's usual processes. Too little of these hormones causes your body to slow down — that's called hypothyroidism. Too much of these hormones causes things to speed up — that's hyperthyroidism. You can remember which is which by remembering that hyperthyroidism can make you feel hyper — quick, jumpy, with a racing heartbeat.

Even though every human being on the planet has a thyroid, few people really know how to take care of it when something is wrong. There are certain lifestyle changes, eating habits, and remedies used to keep hormone levels balanced and stave off those awkward and distressing symptoms. But to treat a thyroid issue, you first have to catch it — here are 12 symptoms you should get yours checked.