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Underactive Thyroid Symptoms in Women, Men

Hypothyroidism or the underactive thyroid affects the general population but is known to be more common in women than in men. Others acquire this condition from birth, known as congenital hypothyroidism. This condition is the deficiency of thyroid hormones that is very essential in our body’s equilibrium and metabolism. The depletion of the thyroid hormones, thyroxine and triiodothyronine, has a grave effect to the affected person.

An increased amount of thyroid-stimulating hormones in our body would indicate for an underactive thyroid.TSH is known to stimulate our pituitary gland in order to release thyroxine. An increase in TSH from an underactive thyroid is a compensatory mechanism for the purpose of increasing the thyroxine levels in the blood. According to studies; women are more affected with this condition and can present more symptoms than men. Women are high risk for an underactive thyroid especially when age increases.

An underactive thyroid gland affects the body by slowing down its essential functions. The end result is by placing our body functions to a slope downwards, this explains why all the presenting symptoms are:

  • Generalized tiredness/ fatigue
  • Weight gain (decreased metabolism)
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin & cool to touch
  • Decreased appetite
  • Cold intolerance
  • Decreased heart rate and respiratory rate
  • Hypoactive
  • Mental sluggishness and depression

Symptoms of underactive thyroid in women are the following:

  • Pale skin
  • Coarse and brittle hair
  • Brittle nails
  • Muscle aches and tenderness
  • Heavier menstrual intervals
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Lack of sex drive

The possible complications of hypothyroidism include:

  • Increased risk for heart disease – low thyroxine levels can cause an increase of cholesterol
  • Pregnancy – women who are pregnant are at risk for acquiring prenatal complications. These complications include: pre-eclampsia, anemia, premature labor, low birth weight, stillbirth, and hemorrhage.
  • Myxedema coma – a rare complication because of a severe low level of thyroid hormone or underactive thyroid gland. This is considered as a life threatening situation that needs to be acted upon onset.

In order to diagnose the condition, blood chemistry for the TSH and Thyroxine blood levels can assist in the process. This can be supported with the presenting symptoms that the patient is experiencing. The key point to consider in an underactive thyroid is the depletion of bodily functions. A vital decrease and change from the patients’ health and function can point us to the possibility for an underactive thyroid.

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