Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, is when the thyroid gland produces too few hormones. Low levels of thyroid hormones can cause a wide range of signs and symptoms from changes in mental functioning to digestive issues.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits in front of the neck. Thyroid hormones play a vital role in regulating metabolism and energy use and affect almost all of the body’s organs.
In the early stages, a person may not notice any symptoms. However, without treatment, hypothyroidism can lead to severe complications, such as infertility and heart disease.
In this article, we describe 12 common signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism. We also discuss how common hypothyroidism is and when to see a doctor.
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Many people with the condition report feeling so exhausted that they are unable to go about their day as usual.
The fatigue occurs regardless of how much sleep a person gets or how many daytime naps they take. Treatment for hypothyroidism usually improves people’s energy levels and functioning.
2. Weight Gain
Thyroid hormones help toTrusted Source regulate body weight, food intake, and the metabolism of fat and sugar. People with low levels of thyroid hormones can experience weight gain and an increase in body mass index (BMI).
Even mild cases of hypothyroidism may increase the risk of weight gain and obesity. People with the condition often report having a puffy face as well as excess weight around the stomach or other areas of the body.
3. Sore muscles and joints
Hypothyroidism can affect a person’s muscles and joints in numerous ways, causing:
- swelling of the joints
Research also suggests a link between thyroid disorders and rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune condition that causes painful swelling in the lining of the joints. Effective treatment for both conditions will help people manage their symptoms.
4. Mood and Memory Changes
It is common for individuals with untreated hypothyroidism to experience:
- apathy, or general lack of interest or feelings of indifference
- impaired memory function
- less attentiveness and concentration
- low moods
- slower thinking and speech
These symptoms can occur because the brain requires thyroid hormones to function correctly. ResearchTrusted Source shows that low levels of thyroid hormones can cause changes in brain structure and functioning.
These brain changes can reverse once a person begins treatment.
5. Feeling cold
Hypothyroidism can slow down metabolism, which can lead to a drop in core body temperature. As such, some people with low levels of thyroid hormones may feel cold all the time or have a low tolerance of the cold. ……………….
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