Thyroid hormones are needed for the body to function normally. The hormones regulate growth and metabolism, thus influencing every function of the body. Hypothyroidism may produce the following symptoms:
- Decreased tolerance to cold
- Weight gain
- Puffy face
- Pain in the joints and muscles
- Dry skin
- Thin and dry hair
- Reduced sweating
- Irregular or heavy periods
- Fertility issues in women
- Bradycardia (slow heart rate)
- Goitre (swelling in the front of the neck due to an enlarged thyroid gland. It can cause problems with breathing and swallowing besides affecting the person’s appearance.)
Untreated hypothyroidism can cause complications such as:
- Goitre: This refers to swelling in front of the neck due to an enlarged thyroid gland. When the thyroid gland does not secrete enough thyroid hormones, the pituitary gland stimulates it constantly to release more hormones. Goitre can cause problems with breathing due to mechanical pressure on the windpipe. It can cause problems with swallowing besides affecting the person’s appearance.
- Slowing of metabolism: This may make the person feel tired easily and cause weight gain. It can also cause constipation.
- Heart problems: There may be an increased risk of heart disease and heart failure. This mainly occurs due to high levels of bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein or LDL).
- Skin and hair problems: The skin may become rough and dry. There may be hair fall or thinning of the hair.
- Mental health issues: Slowed mental function and depression may occur.
- Nerve damage: Hypothyroidism can cause peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage). This may cause numbness, pain, and tingling in the affected areas.
- Sexual and reproductive issues: Hypothyroidism can cause lowered fertility and sex drive in both men and women. Women may experience longer and heavier periods. In some, the periods may stop occurring. In pregnant women, it can cause high blood pressure, high chances of miscarriage, and premature delivery and hamper the mental and physical development of the baby.
- Myxedema coma: It is a rare and life-threatening condition. It occurs when severe hypothyroidism is left untreated for long. It manifests as severe cold intolerance, confusion, drowsiness, lethargy, and unconsciousness.
- Poor musculature: Poor muscle tone is seen in hypothyroidism. This may cause joint pains and an increased tendency for tenosynovitis (covering of the tendon sheath).
Because thyroid hormones play an important role in growth and development, hypothyroidism can cause additional problems in children and teens such as follows:
What is hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is a condition where low levels of thyroid hormones affect various body parts. The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped endocrine gland (a gland that secretes a substance called a hormone into the bloodstream). It is normally located in the front of the neck. It produces the thyroid hormones, which are released into the blood and then carried to various tissues in the body. Thyroid hormones are needed for the body to use energy, maintain body temperature, and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs working properly. Hypothyroidism is a medical condition in which the thyroid gland becomes underactive. The gland is not able to make enough thyroid hormone to keep the body functioning normally. Lab investigations show that people with hypothyroidism have low thyroid hormone levels in their blood. Some of the common causes of this condition are autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, viral infection of the thyroid gland, surgical removal of the thyroid, and radiation treatment. Hypothyroidism is a common condition affecting around 4.6% of the US population aged 12 years and older.
Does menopause put you at a risk of hypothyroidism?
Women are more likely to get hypothyroidism after menopause than earlier in life. Hypothyroidism is a common condition affecting around 4.6% of the US population aged 12 years and older. It is particularly common in women aged above 60 years. Hypothyroidism, however, can affect people of all genders, ages, and ethnic backgrounds.
Top What Effect Does Hypothyroidism Have on the Body? Related Articles
Can Low Thyroid Cause Other Health Problems?Low thyroid can cause health problems such as erectile dysfunction, lack of ovulation, pregnancy complications, goiters, heart disease, depression, and myxedema. Thyroid cancer is the abnormal growth and uninhibited multiplication of cells of the thyroid gland.
Causes for HypothyroidismHypothyroidism may be caused by several reasons. The causes are broadly divided into primary and secondary causes.
Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
glandular productsGlandular products are nutritional supplements used to enhance the function or mimic the effect of an organ. Glandular products can be used to treat hypothyroidism, low adrenal function, autoimmune disorders, adrenocortical insufficiency, hyperkalemia, ulcerative colitis, liver disorders, vascular insufficiencies, pancreatic disorders, and others. Common side effects of glandular products include allergic reactions, hyperthyroidism symptoms, iron overload, infection, and others.
Hyperthyroidism: Symptoms, Treatment, MedicationWhat are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism? What causes hyperthyroidism? What happens when you take thyroid medication? Hyperthyroidism occurs when an overactive thyroid gland produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormone. Learn hyperthyroidism causes, symptoms, and treatment.
Hypothyroidism During PregnancyHypothyroidism during pregnancy can be treated with synthetic thyroid hormones to maintain the proper thyroid hormone balance. Hypothyroidism symptoms and signs include fatigue, weight gain, lethargy, and constipation. Check out the center below for more medical references on pregnancy and hypothyroidism, including multimedia (slideshows, images, and quizzes), related disease conditions, treatment and diagnosis, medications, and prevention or wellness.
iodineIodine is a trace mineral used by the body to produce thyroid hormones. Iodine is an essential component of thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) produced by the thyroid gland. Excessive iodine may lead to reduced thyroid function (hypothyroidism) by feedback inhibition of thyroid hormone production and conversion of triiodothyronine (T3) to less active thyroxine (T4). Common side effects of iodine include metallic taste, fever, thyroid suppression, headache, joint pain (arthralgia), diarrhea, acne (high dose), hives (urticaria), fluid in lungs (pulmonary edema), swelling of tissue under the skin and mucous membranes (angioedema), and high blood count of eosinophil immune cells (eosinophilia).
levothyroxineLevothyroxine is a synthetic form of thyroid hormone used to treat hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), myxedema coma, pituitary TSH suppression, and organ preservation. Common side effects of levothyroxine may include fatigue, increased appetite, weight loss, heat intolerance, fever, excessive sweating, increase in pulse rate, increase in blood pressure, irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia), palpitations, rapid heartbeat (tachycardia), chest pain (angina pectoris), congestive heart failure, heart attack (myocardial infarction), and others. Consult your doctor if pregnant or breastfeeding.
potassium iodidePotassium iodide is an oral medication that has been used for a long time as an expectorant to break up mucus and make it easier to cough up and eliminate phlegm. Potassium iodide is also used to inhibit thyroid hormone production in patients with an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) and thyrotoxicosis. Common side effects of potassium iodide include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, gastrointestinal irritation or bleeding, metallic taste, iodide poisoning syndrome (iodism), and others. Use of potassium iodide during pregnancy can cause fetal harm.
thyroid desiccatedThyroid desiccated is a dried form of thyroid, a naturally occurring hormone, used for replacement or supplemental therapy in people deficient in thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism). Common side effects of thyroid desiccated include chest pain, palpitations, irregular heart rhythm (cardiac arrhythmia), high heart rate (tachycardia), shortness of breath (dyspnea), abdominal cramps, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, weight loss, increased appetite, excessive sweating (diaphoresis), hair loss (alopecia), fever, headache, heat intolerance, muscle pain (myalgia), cramps, impaired balance/coordination/speech (ataxia), tremor, and others. Consult your doctor if pregnant or breastfeeding.
Illustrations of ThyroidThe thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck just below the Adams apple. See a picture of the Thyroid and learn more about the health topic.
Your Thyroid: Common Thyroid Problems and Diseases ExplainedLearn about thyroid problems such as hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyroid cancer, and more. Discover symptoms and treatments for various thyroid problems.
Thyroid QuizYour unexplained change in weight could indicate a thyroid condition. Take the Thyroid Quiz to learn about common symptoms and treatments of overactive and underactive thyroid disorders.
What Does it Mean When Your TSH is High?The thyroid needs TSH to regulate certain organ functions within the body. Learn what happens if TSH is high, how it is diagnosed, and how doctors treat it.
What Does it Mean When Your TSH is Low?Low TSH levels indicate a condition with your pituitary or thyroid glands. Learn what happens when TSH is low, how it is diagnosed, and how doctors treat it. High thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels are associated with hypothyroidism, and one of the signs of hypothyroidism is weight gain.
What Effect Does Hypothyroidism Have On You?What is hypothyroidism? Learn the signs of hypothyroidism, what causes hypothyroidism, and how hypothyroidism affects the body.
What Happens If Hypothyroidism Is Left Untreated?If hypothyroidism is not treated, it can lead to various complications.
What Is the Best Treatment for Hypothyroidism?Learn more about hypothyroidism, ways to manage this condition, and the best medical treatment to help ease your symptoms.