Hypothyroidism is the condition that results when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. This hormone is a chemical messenger used by the brain to regulate functions in the body including metabolism.
Hypothyroidism symptoms checklist
Because this condition is caused by a shortage of a chemical in the body, hypothyroidism symptoms often come on gradually and may be difficult to notice at first.
Common symptoms include:
• Fatigue – feeling tired or unusually sleepy even after a good night’s sleep
• Difficulty thinking – it may be harder to concentrate or pay attention, or you may have difficulty remembering things
• Weight gain – you may gain weight slowly or have a harder time losing weight even when eating less
• Swelling in the legs
• Hair changes – hair may feel drier or more coarse, or you may lose more hair than usual
• Skin changes – your skin may feel drier or you may look pale. Fingernails may become dry and brittle.
• Muscle cramps and aches
• Cold sensitivity – it may be harder to tolerate cold
• Menstrual changes – women may have abnormal monthly cycles for their periods or may have heavier periods
Mild hypothyroidism may not cause any symptoms, or symptoms may be mistaken for other conditions. It is important to note that symptoms can vary dramatically from one person to the next. You may not have all or even most of these symptoms if you have hypothyroidism.
Severe hypothyroidism symptoms
If the condition is left untreated the symptoms of hypothyroidism can become more severe over time. Symptoms that may develop late in the disease include:
• Reduced senses of taste and smell
• Speech difficulties – voice may sound hoarse and speech may become slower
• Puffiness – the skin on the face, hands, and feet can become puffy
• Skin may become thicker
• Eyebrows may become thinner
• Drop in body temperature