With the temperature changes that come with summer many of us will notice changes to our bodies.
For some the heat is welcome, while for others it can lead to difficulty getting to sleep at night and sweating more than usual.
Although these side effects of the warmth are generally nothing to worry about, they could be masking something more serious.
According to the NHS, there are two symptoms of an overactive thyroid that could be mistaken for the effects of hot weather.
Also known as hyperthyroidism, having an overactive thyroid means the thyroid gland is producing too much of the thyroid hormones.
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The thyroid is a small gland in the neck located just in front of the windpipe.
Thyroid hormones control your metabolism – the process of converting food into energy.
Having too much or too little (hypothyroidism) of thyroid hormones can therefore have a significant impact on your body.
The NHS warns that people with hyperthyroidism might experience warm skin and excessive sweating – also both side effects of heat.
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“An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can cause a wide range of symptoms, although it’s unlikely you’ll experience all of them,” the NHS explains.
“The symptoms may develop gradually or suddenly. For some people they’re mild, but for others they can be severe and significantly affect their life.”
It lists other common signs of hyperthyroidism as:
- Nervousness, anxiety and irritability
- Hyperactivity – you may find it hard to stay still and have a lot of nervous energy
- Mood swings
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feeling tired all the time
- Sensitivity to heat
- Muscle weakness
- Needing to pee more often than usual
- Persistent thirst
- Loss of interest in sex.
Other physical signs to look for include:
- A swelling in your neck caused by an enlarged thyroid gland (goitre)
- An irregular and/or unusually fast heart rate (palpitations)
- Twitching or trembling
- Red palms of your hands
- Loose nails
- A raised, itchy rash – known as hives (urticaria)
- Patchy hair loss or thinning
- Weight loss – often despite an increased appetite
- Eye problems, such as redness, dryness or vision problems.
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When to see a GP
If you experience any signs of hyperthyroidism you should speak to your doctor.
Treatment options for the condition include medicine, radioactive iodine treatment and surgery.
“It might be useful to make a list of all your symptoms and show it to a GP,” the NHS adds.
“These symptoms and signs can have a number of causes. But a blood test can often help to determine whether they’re caused by a thyroid problem.”
If your thyroid gland does not produce enough of the thyroid hormones you could have an underactive thyroid – hypothyroidism.
Common symptoms of this are tiredness, weight gain and depression.
However it can also cause:
- Being sensitive to cold
- Slow movements and thoughts
- Muscle aches and weakness
- Muscle cramps
- Dry and scaly skin
- Brittle hair and nails
- Loss of libido (sex drive)
- Pain, numbness and a tingling sensation in the hand and fingers (carpal tunnel syndrome)
- Irregular periods or heavy periods.
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