IntroductionHypothyroidism is a health condition in which thyroid gland insufficiently releases the thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism is mostly developed in women and if untreated can have serious health complications. The diagnosis is based on the blood tests that exactly identify the level of thyroid hormones. Adequate treatment replaces the lacking hormones and relieves the hypothyroidism symptoms.
As a number of other diseases, hypothyroidism initially does not have clear symptoms but they gradually appear. The early signs of hypothyroidism involve general weakness and paleness of skin. A person becomes intolerant to cold and sweats a little. Constant feeling of tiredness is a common sign. The voice may change and the nails and hair are brittle and thin. The affected person is likely to put on weight without known causes and feel as if swelling. The muscles and joints hurt, so the person's activity may slow down. Women experience more uneasiness in menstrual periods and anyone affected with hypothyroidism is prone to depression. The depression intensifies as the disease progresses. Apart from depression, a person feels agitation and lack of memory is also present. The heart rate is lower than usual. Constipation is also a usual accompanying symptom. Hyperthyroidism may progresses to such a level that it leaves the person unable to move properly, the person has heavy breathing and very low blood pressure. The consequences may be fatal to the person. Though elderly women are more susceptible to the thyroid gland conditions, there is a slight chance that children and babies also have such problems. In the case of thyroid glands dysfunction, babies and children have a yellowish skin, a swollen face and tongue. Gradually, the insufficient production of hormones influences the child's growth and well being. As it progresses, it affects the muscle tone and body weight. If untreated, hypothyroidism impairs the child's mental abilities and leaves him mentally retarded.
Untreated hypothyroidism can complicate into some heart-related condition. Due to the higher levels of LDL cholesterol, the heart vessels are unable to function smoothly and heart cannot pump the heart into the body as usual. Thyroid gland can swell and become larger, resulting in the visible enlargement in the neck and in problems with swallowing. Nerves can be damaged in the case of untreated hypothyroidism and consequentially, arm and leg muscles are weak, numb and uncoordinated. A person sleeps a lot, and sometimes loses conscience. This condition is known as myxedema and requires an emergency care. The hormones of the thyroid gland affect the female reproductive organs so a woman may remain infertile or if pregnant, her child is likely to have some mental or physical problems.