The thyroid gland creates two hormones that play a critical role in regulating metabolism. Secretion of these hormones is controlled by thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which is produced by the pituitary gland.
Hypothyroidism symptoms are caused by an under-secretion of thyroid hormones, which can occur in two different ways.
- Primary: When the problem is within the thyroid.
- Secondary: When the problem is within the pituitary or hypothalamus, but affects the thyroid.
Read on to learn the signs and symptoms of primary and secondary hypothyroidism.
Primary Hypothyroidism Symptoms
Primary Hypothyroidism can affect a person's:
- mental state
- reproductive system
- heart, and other parts of their body
As you can see, the thyroid has an important role in many bodily functions, so symptoms can seem unrelated. Furthermore, hypothyroidism symptoms can be subtle and develop slowly making them hard to notice. Early symptoms usually include: cold sensitivity, constipation, and cognitive changes.
Hypothyroidism Symptoms: Metabolism
Minor weight gain can occur due to decreased metabolism, fluid retention, and increased appetite. Patients can feel an increased sensitivity to cold and possibly even hypothermia.
Hypothyroidism Symptoms: Brain and Mental State
There are several mental health and personality changes that can occur with hypothyroidism, these are not limited to but include:
- personality changes
Hypothyroidism can also cause changes in reflexes and paresthesias (a feeling of pins and needles, usually on the hands, arms, legs, or feet).
Hypothyroidism Symptoms: Eyes and Face
The area around eyes can become swollen and some people might get droopy eyelids. As hypothyroidism develops, people develop a puffy face and subdued expressions.
Hypothyroidism Symptoms: Skin and Hair
Coarse and dry hairs can pop-up around the body. Hair on the head usually thins. Many people get dry skin, which might also become scaly, cool, spotted, or thick. Skin can become yellowish from increased beta-carotene (same as eating too many carrots). Body parts may become swollen, often in the feet, legs, hands, arms, and face due to myxedema (accumulation of sugar molecules in the skin), which is rare but potentially life-threatening.
Hypothyroidism Symptoms: Heart
People with hypothyroidism can have a slower heart rate or an enlarged heart.
Hypothyroidism Symptoms: Sexual Reproduction
Infertility is a complication of hypothyroidism. Women often get heavy or irregular periods.
Other Hypothyroidism Symptoms
Other hypothyroidism symptoms include:
- hoarse voice
- slow speech
- stiff joints
- muscle aches.
Fluid can build up in the: lungs, abdomen, or limbs; a contributing factor to the appearance of swelling and weight gain.
Secondary Hypothyroidism Symptoms
Secondary hypothyroidism is much less common. Symptoms are mostly the same as primary hypothyroidism, but there are a few differences.
Secondary hypothyroidism symptoms:
- Women are more likely to miss periods (3 or more) rather than have heavy ones.
- Women’s breasts might get smaller.
- The heart will be small rather than enlarged.
- Hypoglycemia is common.
- Loss of skin pigmentation.
- Low blood pressure.
Hypothyroidism Symptoms in Children and Infants
Children and teenagers can have similar symptoms as adults, but there may be additional signs including:
- Delayed growth including permanent teeth and bones
- Delayed puberty
- Slow development of mental capacity
Infants have some similar symptoms as adults including an enlarged tongue, constipation, fatigue, and yellow skin; but hypothyroidism symptoms may be very different for infants including:.
- Poor feeding
- Hoarse crying
- Hearing loss
- Slow development of the central nervous system
- No sypmotoms (many newborns have mild or no symptoms, but are found to have hypothyroidsim through testing)
Treatment of Hypothyroidism Symptoms
Our doctors will order you the proper lab tests to diagnose your thyroid condition from the lab closest to you. Your results will then be electronically sent back to your PlushCare doctor who will either recommend you for follow up tests, or diagnose your condition.
Upon diagnosis the doctor will give you a treatment plan, including prescriptions for any necessary medications. Prescriptions will be sent electronically to your pharmacy so you can pick up your medication at your convenience.
PlushCare makes getting tested and diagnosed easy, you can skip the waiting rooms and doctor's office and get treated online from the comfort of your home. Living with hypothyroidism doesn't have to be hard, book an appointment and get treated today.
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