Hypothyroidism can be a difficult condition to pin down. But if left unchecked, by the time someone has got themselves to the doctors for a formal diagnosis it has already ravaged the body. But some of the worse effects of hypothyroidism can be staved off providing you are proactive. To do this, we hope to educate you on how to recognise the troubling effects of hypothyroidism.
The body is dependent on the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 to keep everything functioning the way it should. If you’re not getting enough T3 and T4, then your energy levels will plummet and with it, your metabolism, which means you will have difficulty losing weight. However, you can maintain a healthy flow of manufactured T3 and T4 in the form of liothyronine and levothyroxine.
Circulatory and cardiovascular system
You rely on your heart to maintain a consistent beat while keeping blood pumping around your body. Hypothyroidism can slow your heart rate down, thus making it difficult to maintain a consistent heartbeat, which also leaves you open to the risk of raised blood pressure, as a result of narrowed arteries. You’ll also be susceptible to high cholesterol, which, along with high blood pressure, increases the risk of heart disease.
If hypothyroidism is left untreated, then this will also impact the way information is carried to and from the brain, the areas most hindered being the brain and spinal cord. This, in turn, can cause another condition called peripheral neuropathy, with symptoms including numbness and tingling/burning sensations in various parts of the body.
The muscles that you use to breathe can be weakened by the lack of thyroid hormones, which will make breathing difficult, exacerbating any existing breathing conditions. This will be most prominent following exercise.
A lack of thyroid hormones will slow the digestive tract, leaving you vulnerable to heartburn and constipation.
For female sufferers of hypothyroidism, periods are often disrupted and when they do recur, they are often much heavier, which can heavily impact the pregnancy process. Those who are trying to get pregnant may struggle to do so and those who are expecting may be more likely to suffer a miscarriage.
The body’s metabolism is an all-encompassing component that has a knock-on effect on many of the other systems in the body. You may find yourself suffering from chronic fatigue, easily becoming exhausted even with minimal exercise. You will find yourself developing an over-intolerance to cold. There will also be physical changes on your body, such as hands and feet swelling, rough and patchy skin, and possible hair loss.
It doesn’t matter where it strikes or how it disrupts your day, hypothyroidism has the capacity to ravage your body and leave you physically drained and emotionally exhausted. If you exhibit any of these symptoms, then your doctor should be your next port of call, who can advise you on how to manage the symptoms and – if you manage to catch them in time – make a full recovery.