Thyroid Dysfunction

Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn't produce enough of certain important hormones.  This condition is also called Graves

Women, especially those older than 50, are more likely to have hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism upsets the normal balance of chemical reactions in your body. It seldom causes symptoms in the early stages,

but over time, untreated hypothyroidism can cause a number of health problems, such as obesity, joint pain, infertility and heart disease.

The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism vary widely, depending on the severity of the hormone deficiency. But in general, any problems you do have tend to develop slowly, often over a number of years.  At first, you may barely notice the symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as fatigue and sluggishness, or you may simply attribute them to getting older. But as your metabolism continues to slow, you may develop more obvious signs and symptoms. Hypothyroidism symptom may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Sluggishness
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Pale, dry skin
  • A puffy face
  • Hoarse voice
  • An elevated blood cholesterol level
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
  • Brittle fingernails and hair
  • Heavier than normal menstrual periods
  • Depression

When hypothyroidism isn't treated, signs and symptoms can gradually become more severe. Constant stimulation of your thyroid to release more hormones may lead to an enlarged thyroid (goiter). In addition, you may become more forgetful, your thought processes may slow or you may feel depressed.

For more information, please see http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hypothyroidism

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