Hypothyroidism – Symptoms of Thyroid Disease

Thyroid hormone deficiency (hypothyroidism) is a fairly common problem, particularly in females above age of 40 years. It causes a range of symptoms which, often, are ignored by many women due to low awareness about the disease. Lets us try and understand what is hypothyroidism and what are its signs and symptoms.
What is thyroid? Thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland located in our neck that has important role in metabolism (how cells in our body utilize energy) of our body. It releases two primary hormones – T4 (tetraiodothyronine) and T3 (triiodothyronine) – which regulates the way our cells utilize energy.

Hypothyroidism is caused by decreased production of thyroid hormone by thyroid which impairs normal metabolic functions of the body effecting functions like body temperature regulation, blood calcium levels, efficient use of energy from food products, heart rate and blood pressure.

Common causes
1. Surgical removal of thyroid
2. Autoimmune diseases
3. Radiation treatment
4. Some medications (Amiodarone, Lithium, etc)
5. Pituitary disease
6. Iodine deficiency or too much iodine
Signs and Symptoms There may be little or no symptoms in early stage, but gradually a range of symptoms may appear some of which are:
1. Constipation
2. Fatigue
3. Weakness
4. Weight gain
5. Joint pain
6. Increased sensitivity to cold
7. Dry, coarse hair and hair loss
8. Dry, rough, pale skin
9. Brittle nails
10. Decreased libido or infertility
11. Abnormal menstrual cycles
12. Anxiety and depression
If you have many of these symptoms, you should consult your doctor and get your thyroid profile checked so that treatment can be initiated as early as possible. If caught early, it can be easily managed by taking a small pill (synthetic thyroid hormone pill) daily.