Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) is a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of certain important hormones. Hypothyroidism upsets the normal balance of chemical reactions in your body.

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SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

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  • Fatigue
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Weight gain
  • Puffy face
  • Hoarseness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Elevated blood cholesterol level
  • Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
  • Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
  • Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
  • Thinning hair
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Depression
  • Impaired memory

COMPLICATIONS OF UNTREATED HYPOTHYROIDISM

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  • Goiter – constant stimulation of your thyroid to release more hormones may cause the gland to become larger.
  • Heart problems – increased risk of heart disease, primarily because high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol — the “bad” cholesterol Hypothyroidism can also lead to an enlarged heart and heart failure.
  • Mental health issues – depression and slowed mental functioning.
  • Peripheral neuropathy – damage to the nerves that carry information from your brain and spinal cord to the rest of your body, for example, your arms and legs. Signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may include pain, numbness and
    tingling in the area affected by the nerve damage. It may also cause muscle weakness or loss of muscle control.
  • Myxoedema – rare, life-threatening condition is the result of long-term, undiagnosed hypothyroidism. Its signs and symptoms include:
    low blood pressure, decreased breathing,
    decreased body temperature, unresponsiveness
    and even coma.
  • Infertility – Low levels of thyroid hormone can interfere with ovulation.
  • Birth defects – babies born to women with untreated thyroid disease have a higher risk of birth defects – intellectual and developmental problems

RISK FACTORS [3]

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  • Women have been seen to have a higher risk than men.
  • Risk increases with age especially if you are over sixty years of age.
  • Having a family history of any thyroid disease increases your risk as well as having a first-degree family member who has hypothyroidism.
  • Autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes or celiac disease has been seen to increase the risk.
    NOTE: Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that is inherited. An inflammatory reaction occurs after eating gluten activated the immune system.
    This immune response attacks the small intestine and as a results causes damage to it. [6]
  • Receiving radiation therapy to your neck or upper chest increase the risk.
  • Being treated with radioactive iodine or anti-thyroid medications may cause hypothyroidisms if the dosage is high.
  • Surgery to the thyroid may cause hypothyroidism.
  • Pregnancy of six months postpartum may cause hypothyroidism.



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