Side effects of hypothyroidism

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Severe hypothyroidism can give rise to serious side effects like life threatening myxedema coma. When properly diagnosed severe hypothyroidism can be completely treated and the symptoms and the side effects can be totally alleviated.

The basic cause of hypothyroidism is low levels of thyroxine hormone. Hormone replacement therapy with synthetic or natural hormone sources can completely control the condition. However the treatment for hypothyroidism may have to be continued life long.

Thyroid system
Thyroid system

Early symptoms of hypothyroidism

The common early symptoms are listed below:

  • Cold intolerance
  • Heavier menstrual periods
  • Severe constipation
  • Depression
  • Dry hair
  • Dry skin
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Sleepiness
  • Weight gain
  • Body-ache
  • Depression
  • Brittle fingernails

Hypothyroidism as a side effect of certain health conditions and medications.

Following health conditions and medications have been found to cause the deficiency in the hormone production:

  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Congenital hypothyroidism
  • Environmental stress
  • Excess estrogen and side effects
  • Autoimmune condition
  • Destruction of the pituitary gland
  • Homeostatic stress
  • Iodine deficiency
  • Radiation treatments
  • Cancer and cancer treatments
  • Treatment of hyperthyroidism
  • Surgical removal the gland
  • Cold
  • Respiratory infection
  • Viral infections of the glands
  • Lithium-based mood stabilizers
  • Amiodarone
  • Interferon alpha
  • Interleukin-2
  • Thalidomide.

Symptoms of severe hypothyroidism are:

  • Hoarse voice
  • Puffiness of face, hands and feet
  • Slow speech
  • Thick skin
  • Thinning outer eyebrows.

Severe hypothyroidism and myxedema

In this situation of severe hypothyroidism, side effect symptoms like low body temperature, decreased rate of breathing, low blood pressure and low blood glucose are seen.

Myxedema coma is the serious side effect of very low levels of the hormone. This is a medical emergency requiring hospitalization and intensive care treatment.

Side effects of hypothyroidism medication

Thyroxine, triiodothyronine or desiccated gland extract are prescribed for treatment and control the hormone deficiency in hypothyroidism. One of the side effects is over-treatment resulting in hyperthyroidism.

Side effects like palpitations, tremor, restlessness and severe profuse sweating are encountered when the dosage of the medication is high.

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