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Hypothyroidism is a disorder in which the thyroid gland becomes under-active – producing fewer hormones than it is supposed to – and the symptoms of hypothyroidism are so broad that it can be hard to differentiate between a thyroid disorder and another ailment.

More so, many symptoms of this disorder do not begin to appear until it is more developed. The longer hypothyroidism goes untreated, the more severe the signs and symptoms become.

The difference between a sign and a symptom is that a sign is something that can be seen from the outside, while a symptom is something that is felt. A sign can be seen by other people, yet a symptom can only be felt by the patient.

Some of the more common signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism are:

  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Hoarse voice
  • Tender, achy, or weak muscles
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Loss or thinning of hair
  • Depression
  • Impaired memory
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Stiff or painful joints
  • Puffy face

Though any combination of these can be the result of an under-active thyroid, it’s important to be tested to determine exactly what is causing these symptoms. A more direct sign of hypothyroidism is a goiter, which is when the thyroid gland becomes enlarged due to swelling.

The worse the swelling gets, the more noticeable it will be when you look in the mirror. To find out whether or not you have a goiter, look in the mirror right below your Adam’s apple – this is where your thyroid gland is located. Smaller goiters may not cause any symptoms, while larger goiters may cause difficulty breathing or swallowing.

The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism can differ between men and women. It is estimated that 8 out of 10 people with a thyroid disorder are women. Since these types of disorders tend to be hereditary, it is possible that they are genetically predisposed to affect women more often than men.

However, the percentage of men who do develop this disorder tend to develop more advanced complications – due to the fact that many ignore the initial symptoms.

One male-specific symptom is sexual dysfunction. In a study found in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 64.3 percent of males with hypothyroid disorder experienced delayed ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, and decreased libido.

Many of the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism in men and women – such as muscle pains and loss of hair – are ignored by men due to the fact that these symptoms are commonly found in men during normal activity and aging.

In women, hypothyroidism can cause heavy or irregular menstrual periods. Since an under-active thyroid produces a low level of hormones, periods can become excessively heavier and more painful than usual.

Women may also experience a shorter length between periods. Due to the irregularity in menstrual periods, many may find it difficult to get pregnant until periods become regulated. If they do become pregnant, they are at a higher risk for a miscarriage during the early stages. In younger girls, sexual development may happen at an earlier age.

Keeping track of your symptoms and determining whether or not you are in the early stages of hypothyroidism is a daunting and difficult task, yet not an impossible one. If you feel as though you are experiencing a combination of any of these symptoms, a doctor can provide you with a physical exam and a blood test to determine whether or not you have a thyroid disorder.

There are many different forms of treatments available and – as with many disorders – hypothyroidism is easier to treat if caught at an early stage. Do your body a favor and don’t ignore any of the symptoms of hypothyroidism, it will thank you in the end.

Source by Claire Christina Rathausky

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Desoto, TX 75115





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