Hypothyroidism Symptom Checklist for Early and Late Stages of the Disease

Symptoms for hypothyroidism vary widely from person to person. Most of the symptoms, especially during the early stages of the disease, are so mild that they’re ignored or hard to detect. But the signs and symptoms are there and the sooner hypothyroidism is diagnosed, the sooner it can be treated. Early treatment of hypothyroidism is important because if untreated hypothyroidism can produce serious symptoms such as heart disease, nerve damage, goiter, and coma.

Here are the symptoms commonly associated with the early stages of hypothyroidism:

  • Weight gain

  • Increased sensitivity to cold

  • Constipation

  • Weakness

  • Fatigue

  • Depression

  • Heavier menstrual periods

  • Irregular menstrual periods

  • Hyperprolactinemia and galactorrhea

  • Pale or dry skin

  • Joint or muscle pain

  • High blood cholesterol levels

  • Concentration problems

  • Water retention

  • Slow heart rate

  • Decreased sweating

  • Muscle cramps

  • Coarse hair

  • Itchy skin

  • Thin, brittle hair and fingernails

  • Poor muscle tone

Having all these symptoms, however, is not enough to make a definite diagnosis of hypothyroidism. The only way to do that is to do a series of test that measure the thyroid hormone levels in the body. TSH testing of thyroid stimulating hormone testing is one of the most sensitive and accurate diagnostic tests for hypothyroidism, capable of diagnosing even the mildest cases of hypothyroidism. TSH is measured in mill units per liter of blood (mU/L). Healthy people normally have TSH levels of 0.4 mU/L. People at risk for hypothyroidism have 2.5 mU/L TSH levels. Patients with mild hypothyroidism have 4.0 mU/L TSH levels while patients with full blown hypothyroidism have 1.0 mU/L TSH levels.

The symptoms for early hypothyroidism are often so mild they’re easy to disregard. Some people with early hypothyroidism don’t even experience the symptoms. The symptoms for late or full blown hypothyroidism are serious enough to warrant a consultation with a endocrine specialist. Here’s a list a hypothyroidism symptom checklist for the late stages of the disease.

  • Goiter

  • Thinning of eyebrows or the ‘sign of Hertoghe’

  • Thickening of skin

  • Impaired or slow speech

  • Puffy or swollen face, hands and feet

  • Hoarse voice

  • Decreased sensation of taste and smell

  • Decreased body temperature

Not everyone shares the same symptoms for hypothyroidism. Some people experience uncommon symptoms which may be mistakenly associated with other diseases. These uncommon symptoms can make the diagnosis for hypothyroidism difficult, especially if the patient doesn’t have any risk factors for the disease, such as age, family history, autoimmune disorders, thyroid surgery, or birth defects. This is why it is extremely important to have regular physical check up and to consult your doctor if you feel anything out of the ordinary. Here are some of the more uncommon symptoms experienced by hypothyroidism patients.

  • Carotederma or yellowing of the skin due to impaired conversion of beta carotene into vitamin A

  • Irritability and mood swings

  • Impaired renal function or urination problems

  • Sleepiness or drowsiness

  • Shortness of breath

  • Memory problems

  • Difficulty to concentrate and focus

  • Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar

  • Hair loss

  • Slow reflexes

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Anemia

  • Psychosis

  • Deafness

  • Gynecomastia or breast enlargement in men

  • Decreased libido.

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