Hypothyroid disorder, or hypothyroidism, results from decreased thyroid hormones in the body. The thyroid gland is located in the neck and releases hormones which control metabolism. When the thyroid secretes low levels of thyroid hormones, the body’s metabolism rate consequently decreases. Symptoms of this disorder can be accurately described as everything “slowing down.” According to the Mayo Clinic, women older than 50 are at an increased risk for hypothyroidism. Once diagnosed, treatment is safe and effective.
As thyroid hormones start to decrease, you may feel lethargic and fatigued. You can gain weight, feel constipated and weak. Muscles will ache or there may be some numbness and tingling. You may start feeling cold all the time and experience dry skin and hair, or even start losing body hair. In the beginning, symptoms may not be overly noticeable and individuals can experience some, one or none of the symptoms.
When the disorder advances and thyroid hormones drop even lower, it can start affecting the heart and the brain. Heart rate will slow down and blood circulation slows down causing general puffiness throughout the body especially around the eyes and face. The heart can enlarge in attempts to compensation and hypothyroidism sufferers tend to develop congestive heart failure. You will start to be more forgetful, slow to react or get depressed. The New York Times Health Guide reports that hearing loss, vocal hoarseness and obstructive sleep apnea are other late symptoms. Because the thyroid gland is working hard to pump out any available hormone, it can enlarge and result in goiter development.
When thyroid hormone levels stay extremely low for a prolonged period time, a serious but rare disorder called myxedema coma results. This state is life-threatening if not treated. Symptoms include low blood pressure, low blood sugar, low heart rate, puffy swelling all over the body, unresponsiveness and respiratory failure leading to a coma.
About this Author
Based in Chicago, Jojo Genden is passionate about sharing her health and wellness expertise through writing since 2008. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Rockford College, and a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Genden is a registered nurse in the state of Illinois with a background in intensive care.