Underactive Thyroid And Its Symptoms
Underactive thyroid which is also known as hypothyroidism is a condition when the levels of hormones produced by thyroid gland are low. The hormone is called thyroxin that is produced in neck. They are present in our body everywhere in bloodstream. Our body’s metabolism works at a correct pace only with the help of these hormones. Our body cells and tissues need these hormones to keep going correctly.
Reduced level of thyroxin causes several functions of our body to slow down. Underactive thyroid may also occur if there is not enough thyroid gland left to produce thyroxin that usually happens after surgical removal or injury.
Underactive Thyroid Symptoms
There are many symptoms caused by low production of thyroxin. Not all the symptoms occur in all the cases and body functions slow down. The symptoms depend upon the severity of the hormone deficiency. Initial symptoms include weight gain and fatigue.
The other common symptoms that occur over period include:
b) Weight Gain
e) Dry and scaly skin
f) Feeling cold
g) Fluid Retention
h) Mental Slowing
j) Lifeless Hair
k) Muscle cramps
l) Loss of Libido
There are some less common symptoms which include a hoarse voice, heavy or irregular periods in women, infertility, loss of sex drive and memory loss. However there are some symptoms which occur according to the age group. Here they are:
Underactive Thyroid in Infants
Although hypothyroidism mostly affects middle aged adults and women but it can also affect infant.
Newborns depict symptoms like:
1. Yellowish skin and white portion of the eye which is called jaundice. This usually happens when the infant’s liver cannot metabolize a substance called bilirubin which usually occurs when the body recycles old or damaged red blood cells.
2. Frequent choking
3. Protruding large tongue
4. Puffy like look of face
As the infants age, the disease also progresses and infants face more problems like trouble in feeding and inability to grow and develop normally. They can also show symptoms like constipation, poor muscle tone and excessive sleep. If these cases are not treated then they may lead to mental retardation.
Underactive Thyroid in Children and Teens
Children and teens develop same symptoms as adults. But they may also develop signs like
1. Poor growth
2. Delayed puberty
3. Delayed development of permanent teeth
4. Improper or poor mental development
When To See a Doctor
You must go to your doctor if feeling tired without any exertion or reason and if you notice any of the signs mentioned above developing in you like dry skin, puffy face, pale skin, constipation or a hoarse voice.
Also if you have had thyroid surgery in your past including radioactive iodine or anti-thyroid medications; or radiation therapy to your head, neck or upper chest, then you must go for periodic checkups of your thyroid gland. But this may take years for these therapies to develop into hypothyroidism. High blood cholesterol may also be caused due to hypothyroidism. So if you have it, then talk to your doctor. It’s important for you to take medicines properly and on time initially which may change over a period.