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How does hypothyroidism affect the body?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Hypothyroidism occurs when too little thyroid hormone is produced. The thyroid controls the body's metabolism. This condition can slow down many of the body's functions. With treatment, hypothyroidism can be managed. However, when left untreated, it can have damaging effects on the body. Extreme cases can lead to myxedema. This causes the body's functions to slow down to the point of being life threatening. If this occurs, medical treatment should be sought immediately.

Hypothyroidism affects the body in many ways. People with hypothyroidism typically have:

  • fatigue (severe tiredness)
  • a constant feeling of coldness 
  • poor memory
  • poor concentration
  • constipation
  • dyspepsia
  • weight gain with poor appetite
  • course dry hair
  • dry skin
  • cool extremities
  • hair loss
  • slow pulse rate
  • leg swelling
  • abnormally heavy menstrual periods in women
  • coma, in severe cases

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.