Signs And Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Posted: Feb 05, 2015
Hypothyroidism is a condition that affects the thyroid gland. This gland, which is located in the neck, secretes hormones that regulate growth and development through the rate of metabolism. In hypothyroidism, the gland has difficulties producing these hormones, and doesn’t produce enough of them. Generally, this condition develops over a number of years, which means that it can be difficult to notice any signs or symptoms until it has progressed. As the amount of the hormone that they thyroid secrets depletes, metabolism starts to slow down. At first, you probably won’t be aware of any signs or symptoms, but as the condition progresses, you will certainly start to notice signs and symptoms developing. If you do start to experience any strange symptoms, it is highly recommended that you make an appointment with your doctor for further investigation. This condition does have to be controlled, and it can be done with the use of certain medications.
So, how do you know if you are suffering from hypothyroidism? Here is a look at some of the most common symptoms that will signify there is a problem.
Symptoms to Look For
Hypothyroidism is a condition that can have serious effects on your health and well being. It you notice any of the following signs or symptoms, it is recommended that you seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Common signs and symptoms of this condition include:
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Difficulty passing bowels
- Unexplained weight gain
- Puffy face
- Muscle weakness
- Elevated blood cholesterol levels
- Pain, stiffness and tenderness in the muscles
- Pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints
- Dry skin
- Thinning hair
- Menstrual periods that are heavier than normal
- Decreased heart rate
- Impaired memory
If this condition goes untreated, the aforementioned symptoms will continue to progress and they will become more severe. If it goes too long without treatment, you may eventually experience an enlarged thyroid, which is known as a goiter.
An advanced condition of hypothyroidism, known as myxedema, though unusual, it can be life-threatening. If this happens, you’ll start to experience more severe signs and symptoms, including:
- Lowered blood pressure
- Decreased breathing
- Decreased body temperature
- Unresponsiveness, or potentially even going into a coma
Why It Happens
There are several factors that can contribute to the development of this condition. These factors can include autoimmune disease, radiation therapy, thyroid surgery and even certain medications can cause the development of this condition. Though less common, other causes of this condition can include congenital disease, pregnancy, pituitary disorder and iodine deficiency.
There are certain groups of people who are at greater risk for developing hypothyroidism. Those who are at greater risk include:
- Have a family member who has an autoimmune disease
- Have autoimmune disease yourself
- Are a woman who is 60 years of age or older
- Have been treated with radioactive iodine or anti-thyroid medications
- Have had thyroid surgery
- Have received radiation to your neck or upper chest
Seeking Medical Attention
As previously mentioned, you should seek medical help if you start to notice any of the aforementioned symptoms. Your doctor will assess your condition and determine what type of treatment you should receive. Typically, treatment involves hormone therapy; however, if hormone therapy is unresponsive, you may require surgery in order to correct the condition.
If it is determined that you have hypothyroidism, you will need to continue to monitor the condition. Regular appointments with your doctors, as well as diagnostic testing kits, which will allow you to monitor your condition at home, will allow you to stay up on your condition.
About the Author: Paula Trinker has hypothyroidism and highly recommends getting the treatment that you need.
Online Article Marketing Specialist.