Underactive thyroid (also referred to as hypothyroidism) is a condition that manifests itself as a thyroid gland that does not manufacture enough of certain essential hormones. The thyroid gland plays a critical role in controlling the rate at which the body utilizes energy. It accomplishes this by manufacturing two hormones – thyroxine and triiodothyronine. These hormones govern the rate at which metabolism occurs within individual cells and play important roles in the regulation of body development. Therefore, thyroid problems can bring about a wide variety of symptoms. Keep reading to learn about underactive thyroid symptoms.
Initial Signs and Symptoms of Underactive Thyroid
Two of the initial symptoms of this condition are sluggishness and tiredness, however patients often ignore them. After that come more identifiable symptoms like joint and muscle pain, low cold tolerance, lack of appetite, joint and muscle pain, slow body movement as well as constipation. Some sufferers might notice moderate weight increases. As thyroid hormone levels reduce, the hair and skin tend to become dry, rough and lifeless. Also, women who are in their child bearing age may experience irregular menstrual cycle. In contrast, women who are in the premenopausal age range might experience heavy menstrual cycles.
Later Stage Symptoms
If hypothyroidism is not treated early, the condition will deteriorate further. It might lead to thyroid gland enlargement, which is also referred to as goiter. Also, it can cause a more severe complication called myxedema. This occurs as thyroid hormone levels become very low. At this stage, the symptoms include weakness, puffiness at the face, lack of sensation within the legs and arms, thinning eyebrows, hair loss and voice change.
Several individuals who have advanced hypothyroidism complain about concentration problems and weak memory. The condition also affects the general mental state and might result in depression. Effects of certain medications, injuries and infections are so serious in some underactive thyroid sufferers that it can result in coma. This may cause extremely low body temperature. Certain symptoms are common in elderly patients such as uneasiness, memory loss and hearing loss.
Underactive Thyroid Symptoms In Growing Children
Children and infants also suffer from underactive thyroid. This is why new born children are examined for the condition. If the condition is detected at an early phase, the child can be saved from any abnormal development and growth through proper treatment. Sleepiness, constipation, puffy face, throaty harshness and frequent choking when feeding are some of the early signs of hypothyroidism in babies.
If they do not receive appropriate treatment in time, babies with hypothyroidism may develop protruding abdomens, delayed teething, and dryness of hair and skin. The children may also be too short for their age, have less than normal intelligence, and a puffy appearance. In other words, hypothyroidism can severely affect a child’s normal mental and physical development.
Underactive Thyroid Symptoms affect millions of individuals in different parts of the world and are particularly prevalent in women. Thus, women should learn all they can about the condition and its symptoms. If a pregnant woman develops this condition during the first three months of pregnancy, she should see her physician right away and undergo therapy for the same, so as to ensure the unborn child has optimum chance of growing and developing normally.