Major hypothyroidism symptoms can be classified as those detected in the early stages of the disorder and as those recognized in the later stages. These symptoms include weight gain, water retention, skin puffiness, dry skin, brittle fingernails, bradycardia, muscle cramps, fatigue, goiter, abnormal menstrual cycle, low body temperature, slow speech, and depression.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces insufficient thyroid hormone. It is the most common thyroid disorder that is predominantly caused due to iodine deficiency. Some other causes of hypothyroidism are deficiency of the thyroid gland or iodine-131 treatment and considering the present lifestyles, stress.
When this disorder is seen in infants, it is most often due to a lack of iodine in the mother. Hypothyroidism must be treated as early as possible. If the hypothyroidism symptoms are detected in the initial stages, it becomes easy to manage the disorder as compared to when detected at later stages.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
The symptoms of hypothyroidism can be classified as those associated with the early-stage disorder and those connected to the later-stage one. Early-stage symptoms are mild to moderate in severity and if with the appearance of these symptoms, the disorder is detected, treatment usually helps to completely overcome the thyroid deficiency.
The stage at which the disorder is reflects the extent to which the thyroid hormone levels have decreased in the body. Essentially, the greater the reduction of thyroid hormone levels in the physiology, the more symptomatic the individual would be and vice-versa.
Symptoms related to early-stage hypothyroidism include increased sensitivity to cold, fatigue, decreased sweating, dry itchy skin and brittle fingernails. One obvious symptom is that of weight gain and water retention in the body. In its early stages, hypothyroidism is also associated with poor muscle tone, muscle cramps, joint pains, increased serum cholesterol levels and importantly, bradycardia or a heart beat rate below 60 per minute. This deficiency can also cause certain gastrointestinal symptoms like galactorrhea and constipation.
In addition to these physical symptoms, hypothyroidism in its early stages can also be recognized via some psychological changes. Those suffering from hypothyroidism usually experience a rapid thought process. Such people are also more at risk of going into depression. While the above-mentioned symptoms are common in both the genders, in females, the most visible sign of hypothyroidism is that of a disturbed menstrual cycle. Quite often, the disorder is also symptomatized by infertility.
If thyroid hormone deficiency is diagnosed in its later stages, the most common symptoms seen are goitre, which is made visible as a swelling of varying degree in the neck region, dry and puffy facial skin, low basal body temperature, slow speech, hoarse, breaking voice, thinning of the outer edges of the eyebrows, abnormal menstrual cycle and depression. Off these, goitre is the most significant symptom of chronic hypothyroidism that occurs as a result of enlargement of the thyroid gland.
Some uncommon symptoms of hypothyroidism are impaired memory and brain function, slow reflexes, hair loss, anemia, reactive hyperglycemia, impaired renal function, sleepiness, decreased libido, reduced sense of taste and smell, shortness of breath, enlarged tongue and deafness.
As seen in most cases, it is not necessary that those who suffer from hypothyroidism at different stages elicit all the above symptoms. Nor is it necessary for different patients to show the same type of symptoms. In reality, while one patient might experience weight gain and puffiness, another might be troubled more by depression and fatigue.
Although these symptoms help in clinical detection of hypothyroidism, measurement of the thyroid hormone levels is the best indicator of the presence or absence of the disorder. As always, it is prudent to seek medical counsel at the earliest if any one or more of the above symptoms are detected. In short, the sooner you learn to recognize the hypothyroidsim symptoms, the greater the chances are of you detecting the disorder in its early stages and therefore, better would be the probability of totally reversing it.