A low thyroid level is commonly referred to as hypothyroidism, with varying symptoms that can include facial puffiness, aching muscles, cold sensitivity and menstrual irregularities, explains Mayo Clinic. Individuals with low levels of thyroid hormone may also experience symptoms such as memory impairment, thinning hair and depression.
Additional symptoms of hypothyroidism can include constipation, skin dryness, tiredness and weight gain, explains WebMD. While hypothyroidism can occur in anyone, the condition tends to be more prevalent in older women. Risk factors for developing the condition include genetics and medical conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease and multiple sclerosis.
When hypothyroidism is left untreated, the condition can cause symptoms such as slow speech, vocal hoarseness, thickened skin, and a reduced sense of taste and smell, according to Healthline. Untreated hypothyroidism may also lead to coma, commonly referred to as myxedema coma. Tests that help to diagnose hypothyroidism include complete blood counts that detect anemia, thyroid function tests, pituitary function tests and liver enzyme tests that detect elevation. Once diagnosed, hypothyroidism is commonly treated with synthetic thyroid medications that work to replenish the hormonal balance. The medication must be taken in proper dosages to avoid symptoms of excess thyroid hormone such as heart palpitations, tremors and insomnia.