What Are the Signs of an Underactive Thyroid?


Quick Answer

As stated by WebMD, signs of an underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, include feeling tired, sluggish or weak, coarse and thinning hair, an inability to tolerate cold, memory problems, depression and difficulty concentrating. The most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States is Hashimoto's thyroiditis, in which the immune system attacks the thyroid.

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Full Answer

Mild hypothyroidism typically goes unnoticed because the symptoms are vague and may be attributed to age or daily activities. If two or more symptoms are present and do not go away with time, an appointment with a doctor to have thyroid hormone levels evaluated is sensible‚ÄĒespecially for those who are pregnant or may become pregnant. The American Thyroid Association suggests getting tested starting at the age of 35 and every five years thereafter.

If left untreated, hypothyroidism may lead to myxedema, which causes cutaneous and dermal swelling, elevated fluid around the heart and lungs, a decreased ability to think and slower reflexes. Severe cases of this result in hypothermia and slipping into a coma. In addition, cholesterol and triglyceride levels could increase and raise the risk of stroke and coronary artery disease. Sleep apnea, severe forgetfulness and dementia are other side effects that occur if the hypothyroidism is left untreated over time, explains WebMD.

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