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Symptoms of Underactive Thyroid (Hypothyroidism) – What You Need to Know

Studies have shown that women are more likely to suffer from thyroid cancer – a disease that has been in the news recently. Yes, we’re talking about Brook Burke, the ‘Dancing with the Stars” host.

If that’s not all, the American Cancer Society reveals that almost 30,000 people are diagnosed with this disease every year.

Strangely enough, one of the reasons why thyroid cancer can occur is due to chronic goiter, which in turn, occurs due to the not-so-serious condition of  underactive thyroid or what is commonly referred to as hypothyroidism.

Thyroid Gland – An Overview

Shaped in the form of a butterfly, the thyroid gland serves a very important function – metabolism, if you will.

Located below the Adam’s Apple in the human body, what it does is collect iodine from the food we eat, and convert it into three hormones: thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3) and calcitonine.

However, it does not work independently since the pituitary gland controls the release of the aforementioned hormones by releasing a thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).

This action by the pituitary gland, in turn, is also controlled by the hypothalamus, and it’s only when the latter releases the thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH) that the pituitary gland leaps into action.

As mentioned earlier, in producing these hormones (the T3 & T4 hormones, in particular), it contributes to the growth and development of cells in the human body.

Of course, this is not the only function that thyroid gland serves. Some of the other functions include: regulating blood calcium levels, excess fats, energy, hormones, oxygen and weight loss.

When the thyroid gland produces just the right amounts of these hormones, metabolism occurs as it should but the issues begin when these hormones are either produced in less (hypothyroidism) or excessive (hyperthyroidism) amounts. One can only imagine what can happen if there is any disruption amongst these glands.

Of course, the effects of an underactive thyroid can be easily corrected through lifetime treatment.

If underactive thyroid is not treated, even if it isn’t as serious as thyroid cancer among others, there are complications that can occur, and can prove to be fatal.

So, it’s a good idea to stay abreast of the symptoms of underactive thyroid so as to avoid any complications that can occur in the future.

Symptoms of Underactive Thyroid

Simply put, hypothyroidism is the production of T3 and T4 hormones in negligible quantities, and is a condition, where one can feel life slowly slip away.

Now there are both early and late symptoms, and so let’s look at a list of the former:

#1: Fatigue
#2: Cold intolerance (increased sensitivity to cold)
#3: Depression
#4: Muscle cramps and joint pain
#5: Muscle hypotonia (poor muscle tone)
#6: Constipation
#7: Goiter
#8: Thin and brittle fingernails and hair
#9: Paleness
#10: Decreased sweating
#11: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
#12: Osteporosis
#13: Dry & itchy skin
#14: Weight gain & Water Retention
#15: Low heart rate (lesser than sixty beats per minute)

As for late symptoms, here are a few:

#1: Dry puffy skin (visible on the face)
#2: Low basal body temperature
#3: Abnormal menstrual cycles
#4: Thinning of the outer third of the eyebrows
#5: Slow speech – a hoarse breaking voice

In Closing

So, are there any other symptoms of underactive thyroid that you have noticed in fighting this condition? Has the medication worked? How has it helped you? Please feel free to share your thoughts.

Also, you can read this article about Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

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