Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

Milder complications of hypothyroidism

The symptoms of low thyroid function can be vague. Tiredness, fatigue, forgetfulness, slower thinking, moodiness, depression, inability to concentrate, thinning of the hair, hair loss, dry patchy skin, weight gain, feeling cold all the time, puffy eyes, enlarged thyroid (goiter), infertility, muscle weakness, muscle cramps, and constipation. If due to thyroid abnormalities, the severity of the symptoms is related to the duration and the rapidity onset of thyroid disease.

Chances are that you have experienced at least one or more of these symptoms at some point. The most common complaints are fatigue and weight gain. It is important to understand that none of these symptoms are specific to a diagnosis of hypothyroidism because there are many other causes for each. The most common cause these symptoms is usually hypothyroidism, but not everyone with these symptoms has thyroid disease and not everyone with thyroid disease is symptomatic.

Reviewing your symptoms with an endocrinologist can help direct a proper work up for your ailment. Visit the thyroid specialists in the Texas medical center at Houston Thyroid and Endocrine.

Other complications of hypothyroidism

Atherosclerotic cardiac disease and increased cholesterol levels are commonly seen in untreated hypothyroidism. Your endocrinologist at Houston Thyroid and Endocrine will discuss your risks. Hypothyroidism in pregnancy is concerning. Pregnant females with untreated or poorly treated hypothyroidism are at increased miscarriage risk and risk of C-section during childbirth. If not brought under control within the first 3-10 weeks of pregnancy, the unborn child is at risk for slightly reduced IQ at 3 and 9 years of age.

A very rare complication of untreated severe hypothyroidism is myxedema coma. The body experiences progressive and gradual weakness leading to coma and death. It most often occurs in the winter in elderly persons with underlying lung and cardiac disease. The death rate is very high.

In the past patients with cardiac disease such as previous heart attack or heart failure did not tolerate treatment for their severe hypothyroidism. Now with improvements in heart care by cardiologists, hypothyroid patients can be treated medically or surgically prior to thyroid replacement therapy. If a patient has heart disease and hypothyroidism, their endocrinologist should stay in close communication with the cardiologist.

Another rare condition associated with severe hypothyroidism is "myxedema madness." This is a condition where the hypothyroid patient becomes confused, paranoid, depressed, or manic. A psychiatrist will often rule out thyroid disease prior to giving or treating a psychiatric diagnoses.