The thyroid gland controls much of our metabolism and our brain activity. But there are many people in whom this all-important gland becomes sluggish and produces less quantity of hormones than the body requires. This condition is known as hypothyroidism. The effects of hypothyroidism aren’t visible in the beginning, but over a period, due to the chemical imbalance in the body, many problems can arise.
Autoimmune diseases, thyroid surgery, medications, and radiation therapy can all contribute towards someone susceptible to hypothyroidism. Here are some harmful effects of hypothyroidism.
Goiter: As the body faces a deficiency of thyroid hormones, the brain signals it to release more. This constant hammering of the thyroid gland to increase its output can make it bigger than usual. This is known as Goitre. People who suffer from this condition have a changed appearance and find it hard to breathe and swallow.
Birth Defects: Women who have untreated thyroid issues when they conceive are at risk of giving birth to babies which have congenital disabilities. They could suffer from mental and physical development issues. Thyroid hormones are essential for the development of the brain, and their imbalance can have irreversible repercussions.
Cardiac Problems: Hypothyroidism, even in its milder form, can have a harmful effect on the heart’s health. Low levels of thyroid hormones lead to an increase in cholesterol level which can lead to arterial hardening and arteriosclerosis. Heart attacks and strokes become a distinct possibility because of all this.
Mental Health Issues: The thyroid gland is heavily responsible for brain activity. Due to a dip in the thyroid hormones in hypothyroidism, problems like depression and anxiety attacks become prevalent. To improve mental functioning, medications are prescribed that have a positive effect. If left untreated, the problem exacerbates and can lead to decreased mental agility.
Infertility: The thyroid hormones are needed for optimum fertility. A decrease in their production due to hypothyroidism can lead to delayed or even no ovulation thereby, reducing a woman’s ability to conceive. The downside is also that treatment with medications does not mean that the fertility levels will reach one hundred percent.
Peripheral Neuropathy: Hypothyroidism, when left untreated for a long time can lead to damage to the peripheral nerves. The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy will manifest as pain, numbness, and tingling sensation in the affected area. Further damage could lead to muscle weakness or even loss of control over that muscle.
Myxedema: Chances of getting myxedema are low because usually, people seek treatment within the appearance of a few symptoms. However, if hypothyroidism is left untreated for a long time, it can lead to this life-threatening condition of myxedema. The patient feels extremely cold and suffers from drowsiness, lethargy and may even lead to unconsciousness. The disease can slow down the body’s metabolism to the degree that the person can slip into a coma. Seek your doctor’s consultation immediately if you experience extreme fatigue or cold intolerance.