6 mood changes that could signal a serious illness

When most of us consider the possibility of disease — especially as we age and our risks increase — we tend to think about the physical signs and symptoms believing those will be our first indication of a problem.

That’s not always the case…

Many diseases, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and more can present with far more subtle, emotional changes long before we ever have a physical indication.

These signs, if you’re even aware of them, could help you get the treatment you need fast. But since the focus is typically on the physical, few of us even know to look for anything else.

Here are six mood changes to look for that could signal something serious and alert you to seek early intervention…

#1 – Anxiety

If you have begun to feel nervous or jittery, it could be a sign that your thyroid is a problem.

That’s because people with hyperthyroid often complain of anxiety since high levels of thyroid hormones can overwhelm your nervous system and stimulate your fight-or-flight response.

If you’ve been noticing your anxiety levels going up or your heart pounding, it’s important to see your doctor and get the blood work that will rule out your thyroid as the cause behind your nerves.

Common disorders related to the thyroid include Hashimoto’s disease, Grave’s disease, goiter, thyroid nodules, and thyroid cancers.

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#2 – Short temper

And, while having an over-functioning thyroid gland can lead to anxiety, low thyroid can cause just as many problems.

In fact, hypothyroidism and the hormone fluctuations that come with it can lead to rapid mood changes, and a short temper including anger, depression, and tearfulness.

It can be a regular roller coaster of emotions.

#3 – Irritability

Fluctuations in your blood sugar such as you experience when you have diabetes can also turn on your fight-or-flight state and make you irritable.

Related: How negative emotions trigger serious disease

In fact, both high and low blood sugar are linked to irritability.

And, these blood sugar problems can lead to a condition known as “diabetes distress” which can leave you anxious and depressed as well.

#4 – Apathy

One of the early signs of dementia is a lack of interest or motivation to do the things you used to love. It’s more than just “losing that spark” for a little while and can persist and worsen as dementia progresses.

While apathy can be hard to differentiate from depression, it differs in that a person with apathy will generally not be concerned by their symptoms.

#5 – Depression

Just like tremors, depression comes part and parcel with Parkinson’s disease. And, it could be one of the earliest signs you experience due to the changes in your brain chemistry the disease causes.

These mood changes are caused by the lower levels of two hormones – dopamine and serotonin – and can start even years before the other Parkinson’s symptoms.

#6 – Impending doom

Having the unmistakable sense that something terrible or tragic is about to happen is known as “impending doom” and it can be the first sign that a heart attack is on the way.

This can be especially true for women who are more likely to experience non-specific symptoms of a heart attack like nausea, fatigue, and stomach pain.

What should you do?

Symptoms of many diseases go far beyond the physical and can cause real, yet sometimes subtle, emotional changes.

Be aware of the mood changes above, and any that have you feeling unlike your regular self. They could be a warning about your health that you need to see your doctor about.

Editor’s note: A sudden change in memory loss could be a sign you’re statin-intolerant. But it’s not the only sign… statins can steal your sex life and cheat you of longevity. For the truth on cholesterol’s role in the body, click here for a preview of The Cholesterol Super-Brain!


  1. How moods and emotions can be affected by your thyroid — British Thyroid Association
  2. How to Manage Stress If You Have Autoimmune Thyroid Disease — EndocrineWeb
  3. Hyperthyroidism Overview — EndocrineWeb
  4. How does diabetes affect mood and relationships? — Medical News Today
  5. Acute Hyperglycemia Alters Mood State and Impairs Cognitive Performance in People With Type 2 DiabetesDiabetes Care
  6. Apathy and dementia — Alzheimer’s Society
  7. How does Parkinson’s disease influence depression? — Medical News Today
  8. Coronary artery disease: Signs of a heart attackInformedHealth.org
  9. Warning Signs of a Possible Heart Attack — Doctors Hospital of Laredo
  10. 8 Signs of a Heart Attack You Need to Know — UPMC Pinnacle
  11. Women’s Intuition Detects Heart Trouble — Duke Health
Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

By Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

Dr. Adria Schmedthorst is a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic, with more than 20 years of experience. She has dedicated herself to helping others enjoy life at every age through the use of alternative medicine and natural wellness options. Dr. Schmedthorst enjoys sharing her knowledge with the alternative healthcare community, providing solutions for men and women who are ready to take control of their health the natural way.