Hypothyroidism And Its Symptoms

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid becomes under-active and secretes less of the thyroid hormones than it should if you are to remain healthy. The thyroid hormones are responsible for your metabolism and the way in which your body will use the energy which it gets from food. Hypothyroidism affects close to 5 percent of the population in America, and it is most commonly seen in women, and in people who have crossed the age of 50. There are symptoms which may indicate that your body's levels of the thyroid hormones are less than they should be.

Some of these are as follows:

Increase in weight: This is one of the most prominent effects of hypothyroidism. This is because a lack of thyroid hormones leads to a slowing down of metabolism in the body. The calories that you take in through food are not properly utilized by the body, and instead of being burnt at the normal rate, they contribute to fat accumulation. Often, those who suffer from hypothyroidism are surprised at this weight gain, as it occurs even though they have not altered their diet in any way. Hypothyroidism also leads to much water retention, which again gives a bloated look to the person suffering from it.

Constipation: Another one of the grave effects of hypothyroidism is constipation. When the thyroid hormones are not produced as they should be, it becomes difficult for the digestive system to produce stool. This can lead to cramps in the abdominal area, and also to bloating and weight gain.

Dryness of skin: Reduction in the production of thyroid hormones can make your skin so dry that it may get irritated and flaky. Such skin can get very red and sore, and in some extreme cases, it may cause itching as well. The palms and soles of the feet, though, can turn a yellowish or orange colour when one suffers from hypothyroidism.

Fatigue: As the calories you eat are not turned to energy, it can be imagined that low thyroid hormones levels should lead to a person feeling tired and exhausted. This can be extreme in some cases and can prevent the person from functioning effectively.

Menstrual irregularities: Women who are suffering from hypothyroidism will often experience abnormalities in their menstrual cycle: it may become irregular, or very painful and heavy. Hypothyroidism has also been linked to infertility in both women and men.

Hypothyroidism may also include the following symptoms:
  • head ache, joints and muscle pain, numbness in fingers and toes;
  • depression;
  • sleep disorders;
  • memory and thinking skills decline;
  • libido and sexual potency decline;
  • infertility;
  • frequent infections;
  • cold fingers and toes, body temperature lowering;
  • brittle hair and nails;
  • disorders of vision and hearing, ringing in ears;
  • hoarse voice, snoring;
  • heart rate decreasing and heart disorders;
  • blood pressure fluctuations, vascular dystonia;
  • anemia;
  • high cholesterol in the blood;
Though there are so many symptoms which point towards hypothyroidism, many people continue to live with this condition for a long time before they seek medical advice. Medication is available to treat the condition, but it may have side effects and is non-reversible once treatment has began. So it is always adviceable to consult with a qualified medical expert.