4 Thyroid Symptom Checklists You Can Take to Your Doctor

Doctor and patient sitting down and discussing risk and symptoms checklist
XiXinXing/Getty Images

An important part of getting properly diagnosed or treated with a thyroid condition—or any health issue—is maintaining clear communications with your healthcare practitioner. One way to do that is to bring a checklist.

Make an Appointment With Your Doctor

If you suspect that you might have a thyroid or other health problem, your first step should be to schedule an appointment with your healthcare practitioner.

While you don't want to overwhelm your practitioner with volumes of research, printouts, and information, most of which he or she likely already knows, it can be very helpful to come to your appointment with a checklist.

For example, if you suspect that you may have a thyroid condition, filling out a checklist of your risks and symptoms can be a clear and easy way to communicate important risk factors, such as family or personal medical history, and to highlight key symptoms.

Even if you have already been diagnosed and are receiving treatment, when you go in for a follow-up appointment, having a symptoms checklist can be useful to open up the discussion with your practitioner of unresolved symptoms and concerns that you're still experiencing. 

Checklists for Thyroid Disease

Here are some helpful checklists that you can review and bring to your appointments with healthcare practitioners:

  1. Hypothyroidism Risks and Symptoms Checklist: An underactive thyroid—known as hypothyroidism—is the most common thyroid condition. This checklist helps you identify the many risk factors and symptoms that can be associated with hypothyroidism. Some common symptoms include weight gain, feeling cold, being constipated, an inability to lose weight, fatigue, joint pain, dry skin, brittle hair that falls out, depression, restlessness, and irregular menstrual cycles.
  1. Hyperthyroidism Risks and Symptoms Checklist: An overactive thyroid—known as hyperthyroidism—frequently results from the autoimmune condition known as Graves' disease. This checklist points out the various risks and symptoms that are typical when the thyroid becomes overactive. Some of the common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include a racing heart, losing weight, diarrhea, nervous energy, fast pulse, feeling hot, dry skin and hair, increased appetite, joint pain, depression, and hand tremors.
  1. Autoimmune Disease Risks and Symptoms ChecklistThyroid conditions such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis and Graves' disease are among the most common autoimmune diseases. Having one autoimmune condition, or a family history of autoimmune disease, means that you and your family members are at greater risk of other autoimmune diseases. This checklist provides an overview of frequently seen symptoms of autoimmune disease, along with risk factors. Common autoimmune symptoms include fatigue, rashes, joint pain, weakness in the muscles, weight loss, dry eyes and/or mouth, depression, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, getting frequent infections, numbness or tingling in the extremities, and low-grade fever.
  2. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Risks and Symptoms ChecklistChronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia are thought by some practitioners to be related to hypothyroidism and autoimmune thyroid disease. This checklist helps identify some of the unique symptoms of these two conditions. Symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome include fatigue, sore throat, muscle pain, memory or concentration difficulties, sleep that doesn't refresh you, joint pain, tender nodes in your neck or armpits, and headaches. Symptoms of fibromyalgia include widespread muscle and/or joint pain, headaches, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, short attention span, shortness of breath, sleep problems, painful periods, and sore throat.

    Be sure to bring at least one or two extra copies of your checklist—one for you, one for the practitioner, and an extra one that you make sure is put into your medical file.

    Checklists Are Helpful, but They're Not Diagnostic

    Remember that you can't definitively diagnose yourself using a checklist, so in order to have a constructive appointment, you will want to avoid presenting your filled out checklists as conclusive evidence. Instead, use them as a way to open the discussion. 

    For example, you could say: 

    "My mother and grandmother had thyroid conditions, and I've had a number of symptoms lately that made me think that it's something worth looking at in my case. I've filled out this checklist as a way to summarize my risks and symptoms." 

    Ultimately, the more information about your risks and symptoms that you can concisely provide, the more productive your medical appointments will be. It's all part of being an empowered patient