Not Sure if You Have a Thyroid Problem? Here's a Checklist and Tips

Do You Have a Thyroid Problem?

thyroid checklist, thyroid symptoms checklist, thyroid self-tests, thyroid self-check
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If you are wondering whether you have a thyroid problem, there are several steps you can take prior to making your first doctor's appointment. First, you can start by evaluating your potential thyroid symptoms using a checklist of common thyroid symptoms. Second, you can perform a thyroid "neck check" on yourself, to look for thyroid enlargement or lumps. Finally, you can even order your own thyroid blood tests from a direct-to-consumer laboratory.

 

Thyroid Symptoms Checklist

Hypothyroidism / Underactive Thyroid Symptoms

_____ I am gaining weight inappropriately
_____ I am unable to lose weight with diet/exercise
_____ I am constipated, sometimes severely
_____ I have hypothermia/low body temperature (I feel cold when others feel hot, I need extra sweaters, etc.)
_____ I feel fatigued, exhausted
_____ I am feeling run down, sluggish, lethargic
_____ My hair is coarse and dry, breaking, brittle, falling out
_____ My skin is coarse, dry, scaly, and thick
_____ I have a hoarse or gravely voice
_____ I have puffiness and swelling around the eyes and face
_____ I have pains, aches in joints, hands, and feet
_____ I have developed carpal-tunnel syndrome, or it's getting worse
_____ I am having irregular menstrual cycles (longer, or heavier, or more frequent)
_____ I am having trouble conceiving a baby
_____ I feel depressed
_____ I feel restless
_____ My moods change easily
_____ I have feelings of worthlessness
_____ I have difficulty concentrating
_____ My hair is falling out
_____ I have more feelings of sadness
_____ I seem to be losing interest in normal daily activities
_____ I'm more forgetful lately
_____ I can't seem to remember things
_____ I have a low sex drive
_____ I am getting more frequent infections
_____ I'm snoring more
_____ I have/may have sleep apnea
_____ I feel shortness of breath and tightness in the chest
_____ I feel the need to yawn to get oxygen
_____ My eyes feel gritty and dry
_____ My eyes feel sensitive to light
_____ My eyes get jumpy/tics in eyes
_____ I feel dizzy or have vertigo
_____ I have regular headaches
_____ I have strange feelings in neck or throat
_____ I have tinnitus (ringing in ears)
_____ I get recurrent sinus infections
_____ I have vertigo
_____ I feel some lightheadedness
_____ I have severe menstrual cramps

Symptoms on this list may be signs of hypothyroidism.

Learn more about hypothyroidism here.

Hyperthyroidism / Overactive Thyroid Symptoms

_____ My heart feels like it's skipping a beat, racing and I feel like I'm having heart palpitations
_____ My pulse is unusually fast
_____ My pulse, even when resting or in bed, is high
_____ My hands are shaking, I'm having hand tremors
_____ I feel hot when others feel cold, I am feeling inappropriately hot or overheated
_____ I am having increased perspiration
_____ I am losing weight inappropriately
_____ I am losing weight but my appetite has increased
_____ I feel like I have a lot of nervous energy that I need to burn off
_____ I am having diarrhea or loose or more frequent bowel movements
_____ I feel nervous or irritable
_____ My skin looks or feels thinner
_____ My muscles feel weak, particularly the upper arms and thighs
_____ I am having difficulty getting to sleep, staying asleep, or going back to sleep after awakening in the middle of the night
_____ My hair is coarse and dry, breaking, brittle, falling out
_____ My skin is coarse, dry, scaly, thin
_____ I have a hoarse or gravely voice
_____ I have pains, aches in joints, hands, and feet
_____ I am having irregular menstrual cycles (shorter, longer, or heavier, or more frequent, or not at all)
_____ I am having trouble conceiving a baby
_____ I have had one or more miscarriages
_____ I feel depressed
_____ I feel fatigued, exhausted
_____ I feel restless, or anxious
_____ I have had panic attacks
_____ I've recently been diagnosed as having panic disorder, anxiety disorder, or panic attacks
_____ I have puffiness and swelling around the eyes and face
_____ My eyes seem to be enlarging or getting more "bug-eyed" looking
_____ My eyes are very dry
_____ I am having double vision or blurred vision
_____ My moods change easily
_____ I have feelings of worthlessness
_____ I have difficulty concentrating or focusing
_____ I have more feelings of sadness
_____ I seem to be losing interest in normal daily activities
_____ I'm more forgetful lately
_____ My hair is falling out
_____ I can't seem to remember things
_____ I have no sex drive, or am having sexual performance problems
_____ I am getting more frequent infections, that last longer
_____ I feel shortness of breath and tightness in the chest

The above list of symptoms points to hyperthyroidism. list of symptoms points to hyperthyroidism. You can learn more here

Other Potential Thyroid Symptoms

_____ My neck is enlarged, or I have a visible lump or irregularity
_____ My neck is sensitive
_____ Scarves, ties, turtlenecks and jewelry around my neck are uncomfortable 

The Thyroid Neck Check

One self-check that may detect some thyroid problems is called the “thyroid neck check.” To take this test, hold a mirror up so that you can see your neck, just below your Adam's apple and above your collarbone. Tip your head back, and keeping an eye on this area, take a drink of water and swallow. As you swallow, look at your neck. Watch carefully for any bulges, enlargement, protrusions, or unusual appearances in this area. Repeat this process several times. If you see any bulges, protrusions, lumps or anything unusual, see your doctor for a full evaluation.

Direct-to-Consumer Blood Tests

A number of companies offer you the opportunity to order FDA-approved blood tests without your doctor’s prescription. You typically order and pre-pay for test panels at discounted costs, and have blood draws done at local laboratories, or you are sent test kits for saliva or bloodspot samples.

The testing process is the same as if your doctor ordered the tests directly. 

Some of the direct-to-consumer companies include MyMedLab, DirectLabs, WellnessFx, RequestaTest, HealthCheckUSA, and a number of other direct-to-consumer laboratory services.

A Word from Verywell 

Whether you have symptoms on the checklists, notice enlargement or lumps in your thyroid, or tests you've ordered show abnormalities, your next step should always be to consult with a physician for a diagnosis and treatment.

Also, remember that the thyroid neck check can't rule out the possibility that you have a thyroid condition.

It can, however, be helpful you to identify a particularly enlarged thyroid or visible thyroid masses.

Finally, when you order your own blood or saliva tests, the cost of the tests may not be covered by your insurance. Consult your health insurer for more information.

Sources:

Bahn, R., Burch, H, Cooper, D, et al. Hyperthyroidism and Other Causes of Thyrotoxicosis: Management Guidelines of the American Thyroid Association and American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Endocrine Practice. Vol 17 No. 3 May/June 2011.

Braverman, L, Cooper D. Werner & Ingbar's The Thyroid, 10th Edition. WLL/Wolters Kluwer; 2012.

Garber, J, Cobin, R, Gharib, H, et. al. "Clinical Practice Guidelines for Hypothyroidism in Adults: Cosponsored by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the American Thyroid Association." Endocrine Practice. Vol 18 No. 6 November/December 2012.

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