You might have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis for years and not even know it. The autoimmune disease can affect your health and lead to goiter and hypothyroidism. It attacks your thyroid gland, which is responsible for producing the hormones that your body needs to properly function.

In fact, Hashimoto’s disease is the leading cause of hypothyroidism in the United States, according to Mayo Clinic. The symptoms manifest themselves slowly, and it’s often middle-aged women who get diagnosed, compared to other women and men across all ages.

Here are the symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease that you should look out for. Early detection is important and will allow you to seek all viable treatment options before the condition worsens. Read more below!

SENSITIVITY TO COLD

Sometimes it’s not enough to double down on thermal leggings and crawl under the covers to keep warm. It’s not even just about comfort, or even worrying about looking too bulky when you step outside and can’t quite pull off your OOTD.

Since our thyroid gland affects the body’s metabolic rate, and part of this is messing up your body’s ability to regulate temperature. If people who don’t have Hashimoto’s disease already hate dealing with the sweltering heat of the summer and the unbearable bite of the winter, we can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like for those of you who have an intolerance to the cold caused by Hashimoto’s.

DRY SKIN, NAILS, AND HAIR

Are you riddled with issues with your skin, hair, and nails? It’s possible that you might currently be treating these problems individually instead of treating it at its root, which is hypothyroidism.

If you’re constantly combatting and itchy scalp, frizzy hair, dry, itchy skin, eczema, pale skin, cracked skin, brittle nails, sparse brows, and lashes, then all of these might be a sign of Hashimoto.

For hypothyroidism, you’ll notice the outer one-third of your eyebrows thinning, your face getting puffier, and notice a decrease in perspiration in your body.

SUDDEN WEIGHT GAIN

If you’re experiencing a sudden weight gain (as dramatic a change as 45 pounds in eight weeks, for example), along with other symptoms you’ll find on this list, chances are you might be suffering from thyroid issues.

People with hypothyroidism can tell you how difficult it is to go back to your normal weight even as your body responds to medication.If you feel like you might have a thyroid problem, it’s always best to check with a doctor instead of letting your symptoms get worse.

On the other hand, most patients suffering from Hashimoto’s have taken to using weight loss supplements in order to help them go back to their normal weight.

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FATIGUE

This one is tough —  sometimes, people have a tendency to say you don’t look sick and might end up not taking your health concerns seriously. What most people don’t realize is that looking sick and feeling sick are not exclusive. Sure, it’s great that you don’t look like a zombie, but nothing can be said about the overwhelming feeling of exhaustion and fatigue that you’ve had to overcome just to come into work today.

What’s worse is that feeling tired and helpless can lead to anxiety and depression. Not only that, but fatigue can also lead to sleep problems and insomnia!

If you feel like you’re experiencing a form of exhaustion that a few naps can’t fix, maybe it’s time to check if you have other symptoms of Hashimoto.

PUFFINESS AND SWELLING

Pretibial myxedema is commonly found among patients with Graves’ diseases, but it’s also a side effect of hypothyroidism brought by Hashimoto’s disease. This usually manifests itself through the swelling of your face and your eyelids, but it can also cause swelling, itching and an intense leaden feeling in your lower legs.

If you’ve ever experienced having difficulty walking and experiencing unbearable pain even when just walking short distances, but immediately feel relief when you take a break, this might be a sign of Hashimoto’s.

It’s possible that it’s also a sign of cardiovascular issues, so it’s probably best that you get tested for both since the progression of these diseases is serious.

It can also manifest itself as puffy areas on your skin, either below your knees or just above the shins. You might think it’s a case of fluid retention, but remember it could be a sign of myxedema!

BRAIN DRAIN

Brain fog, memory loss, difficulty finding the right words, lack of motivation, and fatigue are symptoms not just of hypothyroidism, but of early brain degeneration. It’s also important to note that Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism actually raise your risk of developing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, especially when not properly managed.

Other signs that you need to get checked for thyroid problems are vertigo, tinnitus, tingling, and numbness in parts of your body and difficulty finding balance.

INFERTILITY AND MENSTRUAL PROBLEMS

Because the thyroid gland is responsible for regulating hormones, it’s no wonder that Hashimoto’s disease will inevitably affect your menstrual cycle, lower basal body temperature, cramps, severe PMS, heavy menstruation, and infertility issues. If you do manage to conceive, there’s a chance your child will have neurodevelopmental issues if you become pregnant without treating your thyroid problems for.

If you’re currently going through two or more symptoms stated above, it’s important to consult a doctor to determine if you might have Hashimoto’s disease or hypothyroidism. It’s important to have the proper medication to treat this problem, accompanied by a gut-healthy diet and proper supplementation as needed.