Hypothyroidism (low thyroid) is a disorder in which the thyroid glands fail to produce sufficient thyroid hormones that your body needs.
This alters the way your body utilizes energy, which may further lead to a swollen tongue, neck, and face.
Depending on the severity of the condition, symptoms usually start slowly and increase over the years.
Women are more prone to develop thyroid disorder than men.
Treating hypothyroidism will ease fatigue and stop other conditions like goiter, neuropathy, and heart disease.
Thyroid hormone helps regulate processes such as metabolism, body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, menstrual cycles, body weight, and more. (1)
A low level of thyroid hormone can slow down your metabolism.
Signs of hypothyroidism may include:
- Sensitivity to cold
- Dry skin, cracks of the skin
- Increase in weight
- The face that appears puffed up
- Brittle nails
- Hoarse voice (abnormal change in your voice)
- Body aches and sore throat
- Weak muscles
- Dry and brittle hair
- Sensitivity in your joints -pain, swelling, and stiffness
- Feeling sad or depressed
- Lower heart rate
- Hair that is falling out and thinning
- Irregular or heavy menstrual periods
- Swelling of the face, eyelids, tongue, legs, feet, and hands.
- Memory loss
- Depending on the time of occurrence, it can be congenital – manifested from early childhood or acquired – appears at an older age.
What happens if hypothyroidism is left untreated?
If left untreated, the signs of low thyroid disorder will ordinarily advance.
Rarely, complications can lead to severe depression that may endanger life, heart failure, or coma.
Complications of Hypothyroidism
- Chronic heart disease: Arrhythmia – an irregular heartbeat. Myocardial infarction – a failure of the blood supply to the heart).
- Increased gland size causing difficulty breathing and swallowing.
- Mental health issues – This can directly affect your mental state, and your depression may intensify as a result.
- Myxedema coma – a severe condition that occurs with long-term low thyroid disorder
- Pregnancy complications: pre-eclampsia, congenital disabilities, bleeding after birth or miscarriage
- High risk of death.
- Infertility – If thyroid hormone levels are too low, it can affect ovulation and decrease a woman’s chances of conceiving.
These problems can generally be avoided with the treatment of thyroid hormone disorders.
Hypothyroidism is generally diagnosed with blood tests.
- Treatment depends on the cause of hypothyroidism (normally treated by taking everyday hormone replacement tablets called levothyroxine) and is prescribed by a doctor.
- Thyroid hormone replacement therapy.
- A diet rich in high iodine content
Prevention of hypothyroidism
- Balanced diet. Your daily diet should include proteins (such as meat, eggs, consumption of seafood), fats (vegetable oil), and carbohydrates (cereals, bread, fruit).
- Prophylactic iodine preparations.
Fortunately, hypothyroidism is usually treatable with medications.
If you have these symptoms above, you need to discuss them with your doctor.
Endocrinologists recommend that men and women should ask their physician to check their thyroid as part of routine care.