Skip to Content

What symptoms can an underactive thyroid cause?

Symptoms of an underactive thyroid (also known as hypothyroidism) can vary widely and range from mild to severe. Common physical symptoms can include: fatigue, unexplained weight gain, dry skin, constipation, depression, hair loss, joint pain, increased sensitivity to cold, and heavy or irregular menstrual periods.

Other symptoms can include brittle nails, memory loss, slow heart rate, hoarseness, swelling in the neck, muscle aches and weakness, and a slow speech. In addition to physical symptoms, emotional symptoms can also be present, such as a disinterest in activities that were once enjoyed or difficulty concentrating.

If left untreated, an underactive thyroid can also cause chronic health problems.

Can a slightly underactive thyroid cause symptoms?

Yes, a slightly underactive thyroid can cause symptoms, although these symptoms are often mild and can be easy to overlook. Common symptoms of a slightly underactive thyroid include fatigue, weight gain, depression, dry skin, feeling cold, joint pain, hair loss, constipation, and heavy or irregular periods.

Additionally, people with a slightly underactive thyroid may also experience cognitive issues such as difficulty with concentration and memory. It is important to note that these symptoms can be caused by other health issues and do not necessarily indicate an underactive thyroid, so diagnosis should be made by a doctor.

It is also important to note that the symptoms of a slightly underactive thyroid may become worse if left untreated. If you have any of these symptoms or are concerned that they may be related to an underactive thyroid, it is important to speak to your doctor.

What does mild hypothyroidism feel like?

Mild hypothyroidism can cause a wide range of symptoms. These can vary from person to person, but many people experience feeling tired or weak and difficulty concentrating or staying alert throughout the day.

Additional symptoms may include depression, weight gain, constipation, dry skin, hair loss, muscle aches and sensitivity to cold temperatures. A slowed heart rate and an irregular menstrual cycle can also be associated with mild hypothyroidism.

People with mild hypothyroidism often don’t even realize they have a problem. Symptoms may be subtle or seem unrelated at first, making them difficult to recognize. A simple blood test can diagnose the condition and proper treatment can help relieve the symptoms.

Can you have thyroid symptoms with normal levels?

Yes, it is possible to have thyroid symptoms even when the levels of thyroid hormones are within their normal range. This is often referred to as subclinical hypothyroidism, and most commonly occurs when the pituitary gland is functioning abnormally, leading to a decreased production of the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) even when the thyroid is functioning normally.

In this case, patients may experience a wide range of thyroid-related symptoms but their thyroid hormone levels will remain normal on laboratory tests. Symptoms may include fatigue, depression, difficulty losing weight, constipation, dry skin, hair loss, cold intolerance, etc.

The diagnosis of subclinical hypothyroidism is usually made based on laboratory tests showing an elevated TSH level in combination with a normal free thyroxine (FT4) level. In some cases, further tests may be needed to evaluate the extent of the condition and determine the best treatment option.

In general, the treatment for subclinical hypothyroidism depends on factors such as the TSH level, age, cardiovascular risk factors and specific symptoms. In some cases, symptoms may improve with the use of thyroid hormone supplements, while in other cases lifestyle changes may be more suitable.

It is important to note that in some people symptoms will resolve without any treatment. Therefore, it is important to monitor the situation regularly and discuss the treatment options with your healthcare provider.

What are the symptoms of borderline thyroid?

Borderline thyroid, or subclinical hypothyroidism, is a condition where the thyroid gland produces an inadequate amount of thyroid hormones. Common symptoms of this condition include fatigue, constipation, feeling cold, depression, dry skin, decreased appetite, nodules on the neck, and sluggish reflexes.

Additionally, people with borderline thyroid might also experience changes in their menstrual cycle, joint pain, increased cholesterol levels, and puffiness in the face. If unnoticed and left untreated, subclinical hypothyroidism can eventually lead to full-blown hypothyroidism.

Thus, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms and visit a doctor for regular checkups if any unusual changes are present.

What can mimic thyroid problems?

These conditions can include problems with other endocrine glands (such as the pituitary or adrenal glands), certain types of autoimmune disorders, certain medications (such as lithium or amiodarone), certain types of cancer, and certain genetic syndromes.

People who have had neck surgery (such as a thyroidectomy) or radiation can also be at risk for secondary thyroid disorders. In some cases, a person’s thyroid function test results can be normal, but they may still have symptoms that are similar to those of a thyroid disorder such as fatigue, weight gain, dry skin, or depression.

Other signs and symptoms include goiter, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyroid nodules and thyroid eye disease. It is important to speak with a healthcare professional to determine whether or not a person has any of the above conditions.

At what point do you need thyroid medication?

Whether or not someone needs thyroid medication depends on the results of their blood tests and the severity of their symptoms. When the levels of thyroid hormones measured in the blood are lower than normal, the patient is said to have hypothyroidism and may be prescribed medication to supplement their natural levels of the hormones.

In some cases, hypothyroidism may not cause any symptoms and may only be detected when a doctor orders blood tests as part of a routine examination. However, in other cases, people may experience fatigue, cold intolerance, weight gain, dry skin, hair loss, a puffy face, or slowed heart rate.

Because all of these symptoms may be related to other health conditions, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional if you are experiencing any of these symptoms so they can properly diagnose the cause.

If your doctor finds that the cause of your symptoms is an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism, they may recommend a medication like levothyroxine to help increase the levels of thyroid hormones in your body to return them to a normal range.

How is borderline underactive thyroid treated?

Borderline underactive thyroid is typically treated with a combination of lifestyle changes, medications and supplements.

Lifestyle changes that can help manage underactive thyroid include increasing exposure to natural sunlight (especially in the morning, as sunlight helps reset the body’s circadian rhythms). Additionally, limiting exposure to electronic devices, such as a laptop and smartphone, and going to bed earlier can help improve body rhythms.

Exercise, yoga, and relaxation techniques can also help manage an underactive thyroid.

Medications and supplements prescribed to treat an underactive thyroid are most commonly synthetic thyroid hormones, such as levothyroxine or liothyronine. These synthetic hormones help replace the natural hormones that the thyroid gland normally creates, restoring hormone levels to normal.

In addition to synthetic hormones, iodine supplements can help improve the functioning of the thyroid gland. Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones and is commonly found in many foods and beverages, such as iodized salt, seaweed, and fortified milk.

Finally, adding selenium supplements to your diet can be beneficial in treating an underactive thyroid, as selenium helps the thyroid gland process hormones more efficiently. It can be found in many foods, including Brazil nuts, fish, meats, and poultry.

It can also be taken as a supplement.

Can you have a normal thyroid test and still have hypothyroidism?

Yes, it is possible to have a normal thyroid test and still have hypothyroidism, also known as subclinical hypothyroidism. This is because the most commonly used test to diagnose hypothyroidism, called the TSH test, measures the hormone levels in the blood and not the actual thyroid.

It can be the case that although the hormone levels test as normal, the thyroid isn’t functioning normally. In addition to the TSH test, other tests such as free T3, free T4, and reverse T3, as well as an assessment of thyroid autoantibodies may be used to diagnose hypothyroidism.

Alternatively, people may experience symptoms of hypothyroidism but testing does not confirm a diagnosis. In this case, a doctor may recommend treating the symptoms despite the normal test results as it may be that the person is still in need of treatment.

Can thyroid problems go undetected in blood tests?

Yes, thyroid problems can go undetected in blood tests. One reason is the presence of low levels of thyroid hormones in the blood, known as subclinical hypothyroidism. This can be difficult to detect because the amounts of thyroid hormone present are too low to detect in many cases.

Additionally, certain conditions, such as Hashimoto’s disease, can lead to an elevation of thyroid antibodies, which can also interfere with the accuracy of certain blood tests. Lastly, certain genetic mutations can lead to an undetectable or sporadic pattern of hormone levels, making it difficult to accurately diagnose any thyroid problems.

Therefore, a doctor may need to look at other symptoms or order additional tests for a more accurate diagnosis.

What is a major complication of hypothyroidism?

One of the major complications of hypothyroidism is known as myxedema coma. Myxedema coma is a severe form of hypothyroidism that can be fatal if not treated quickly. Symptoms include low body temperature, low blood pressure, mental confusion, slowed breathing, and stupor.

In extreme cases, myxedema coma can lead to heart failure or respiratory arrest. It can be brought on by conditions such as infection, trauma, or extreme stress. Treatment typically involves the administration of thyroid hormones and supportive medical care.

Other complications of hypothyroidism include risk of coronary artery disease, infertility, increased risk of osteoporosis, depression, and increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and osteoarthritis.

When is hypothyroidism an emergency?

Hypothyroidism is usually not considered an emergency medical condition, however, if a person is suffering from severe symptoms of hypothyroidism, an emergency may be necessary. Symptoms of severe hypothyroidism include heart palpitations, chest pain or tightness, difficulty breathing, confusion or disorientation, severe fatigue, or in some cases even coma.

If a person experiences any of these symptoms, they should call 911 or visit the emergency room immediately. Additionally, if a person’s thyroid hormone levels are extremely low and they develop any of the previously mentioned symptoms, it is also considered an emergency.

A doctor should be consulted right away to discuss treatment options, which may include prescription medication, hormone supplementation, or other medical treatments.

What can cause hypothyroidism to get worse?

Hypothyroidism can be managed and still remain relatively healthy, but without proper medical management, it can get worse. Some of the most common causes of hypothyroidism getting worse include: an untreated or under-treated infection, stress, an underactive thyroid gland, inadequate nutrition, changes in hormone levels (due to age, pregnancy, menopause, medication, etc.

), radiation therapy, genetic defects, and autoimmunity. Additionally, inadequate management of health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and other illnesses can contribute to worsening hypothyroidism.

A healthy lifestyle and regular physician visits is the best defense against advanced hypothyroidism.

What happens to your body when you have an underactive thyroid?

An underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. These hormones are responsible for controlling your metabolism. When the thyroid does not produce enough hormones, your body’s natural processes slow down resulting in a wide range of symptoms which can affect your overall quality of life.

The symptoms of an underactive thyroid vary depending on the severity of the condition. Common symptoms include fatigue, feeling cold, constipation, dry skin, brittle nails, weight gain, a slow heart rate, depression, irritability, muscle weakness, joint pain, and cognitive decline.

Additional symptoms can include puffiness around the eyes and swelling of the outer edges of the eyebrows due to fluid retention.

If left untreated, an underactive thyroid can lead to more serious health complications such as anemia, infertility, and high cholesterol levels. Treatment typically involves replacing the hormones with synthetic supplements, hence allowing the body to function more normally.

It is important to get tested regularly and maintain an optimal levels of these hormones.