Red flag symptoms of common condition that can cause depression and memory loss

Woman with sore throat
Thyroid diseases are more likely to affect women than men -Credit:Getty Images

People in the UK are being urged to know the red flag symptoms of a very common condition that can cause a range of nasty side effects, from depression to breathing problems.

Thyroid diseases, which can happen when the thyroid glands are either too active or not active enough, can be a real struggle to cope with. Having problems with your thyroid means that your body may not get enough of essential hormones that the thyroid gland creates, which control vital functions.

So, in light of World Thyroid Day falling on May 25, medical negligence experts at Patient Claim Line have released advice on what symptoms to look out for and who is at risk of the condition.

What is thyroid disease?

The thyroid gland creates hormones that control vital functions in the body, but having an excess or lack of the hormone can cause thyroid disease, leading to muscle aches, feeling tired and fluctuations in weight.

Hyperthyroidism is where the gland produces too much of the hormone whilst hypothyroidism is when it doesn't produce enough.

Women are five to ten times more likely to be affected than men. Around two percent of the UK population suffer from hypothyroidism, and this figure increases to five percent in those over 60.

What are the symptoms of thyroid disease?

Woman with depression
An underactive thyroid can lead to depression in some cases -Credit:Getty Images/iStockphoto

Tiredness and muscle aches are common signs that you may have thyroid disease as well as feeling sensitive when in cold and hot temperatures. An underactive thyroid is also known to cause depression in many sufferers.

According to the NHS, elderly people suffering from an underactive thyroid may have an increased risk of memory loss whilst children may experience slower development leading up to puberty.

An overactive thyroid can also manifest itself in swelling in the neck from an enlarged thyroid gland, as experienced by our clients. This swelling is usually painless, but it can create a cough, difficulty speaking and a wheezing noise when breathing.

Who is at risk of thyroid disease?

Thyroid disease can affect anyone but, according to the NHS, it is more common in women than men and usually occurs between the ages of 20 and 40 years old.

Genetics also play a huge role, with research from Verywell suggesting that approximately 64% of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and 65% of thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) concentrations are genetically determined.

If your family also has a history of medical conditions such as anaemia or lupus, you may be at a higher risk of thyroid disease. If you suffer from an autoimmune disorder, such as type 1 diabetes, you are likely to develop an additional autoimmune disorder like thyroid disease.

Another risk factor for thyroid disease is smoking, since cigarette smoke contains toxins that change how your thyroid works. Because of this, quitting can reduce your risk of developing it.

If you think you have a thyroid disease, it's worth visiting your GP where they'll likely give you a thyroid function test. If it's determined your thyroid gland is not working hard enough, your doctor may recommend hormone replacement therapy.

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