Symptoms of hypothyroidism begin slowly over weeks or months. You may have hypothyroidism for a long time before you realize you are ill. Symptoms change with the degree of hypothyroidism and how long your body has not had the proper amount of thyroid hormone.
You may have only one of these symptoms, but most people have a combination. Some with hypothyroidism do not have symptoms or have mild symptoms that go unnoticed for a long period of time.
Symptoms include: Enlarged thyroid gland, called goiter (not always present)Fullness in the neckDifficulty swallowing or trouble breathing (can happen if the goiter is very large)
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Other symptoms or signs include: FatigueWeaknessCoarse, brittle hair and hair lossDry, scaly skinUnable to tolerate cold temperaturesWeight gain (may happen despite having a poor appetite)ConstipationAchy feeling all overDepression
Memory loss and personality changesIrregular or heavy menstrual periodsFacial puffinessSwollen feet or handsInfertilityReduced sweating
Symptoms of severe or extended cases include: Swelling of the skin and tissue around the eyesBradycardia—slow heart rateHypothermia—low body temperatureShortness of breath during activity or when lying flatDrowsiness and lower mental alertness
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/hypothyroidism. Updated August 2016. Accessed February 20, 2017.
Singer P, Cooper D, Levy EG, et al. Treatment guidelines for patients with hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
Wartofsky L. Myxedema coma.
Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am.
Last reviewed February 2017 by James P. Cornell, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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