Fatigue, unexplained weight gain, dry skin, elevated sensitivity to cold temperatures and muscles that ache or feel weak are all primary signs of hypothyroidism, reports Mayo Clinic. Over time, in many cases, patients notice the symptoms gradually worsening as the metabolism becomes increasingly slower.
Hypothyroidism results from a deficiency in the hormones that the thyroid gland produces. Without treatment, the symptoms become more severe. Stimulating the thyroid gland so that it sends more hormones into the bloodstream sometimes leads to enlargement of the gland, known as goiter. Other symptoms that appear include constipation, high blood cholesterol, heavy or irregular menstrual periods, and thinning hair. Depression and memory impairment affect some patients as well, as stated by Mayo Clinic.
Myxedema is advanced hypothyroidism. While this is a rare condition, it is often life-threatening when it does present. Symptoms include reduced breathing, low body temperature and blood pressure, and coma in some cases, notes Mayo Clinic.
While women in middle age and older are the most common hypothyroid patients, it sometimes strikes infants as well. Yellowing of the whites of the eyes and skin, frequent episodes of choking, a puffy face, and a large tongue that sticks out of the mouth are the most common symptoms. When hypothyroidism hits children and teenagers, the symptoms are similar to those of adults, but delays in puberty and growth of permanent teeth and gaps in mental development and physical growth also occur, according to Mayo Clinic.