When under active thyroid function goes undetected what are the long-term consequences? Risks associated with long-term untreated hypothyroidism. Damage to heart, brain, fertility and immune system associated with long-term untreated hypothyroidism are treatable but when left untreated the effects are extensive.
Symptoms associated with an under active thyroid are very important to get it checked by your physician. The sluggish feeling and low energy are not the only problems with hypothyroidism. Early detection and treatment of hypothyroidism are essential to overall well-being and health. As the thyroid slows and sometimes stops altogether, the endocrine system, altered thus affecting other parts of the body.
Damage from a slowed metabolism associated with thyroid disease affects many parts of the body.
Brain-fog and mental dysfunction often associated with an autoimmune disease often stem from hypothyroidism.
Autoimmune diseases associated with hypothyroidism
- Hashimoto’s Thyroid Disease is the most common autoimmune disease associated with hypothyroidism, but not the only one.
- Atrophic Thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease which is less common but similar to Hashimoto’s except does not present with a goiter or nodules of the thyroid.
- Riedel’s Thyroiditis is also autoimmune with one or many nodules or goiter hardening into a ‘stone’.
Goiter, a growth in the thyroid gland which is the most obvious and noticeable symptom. The growth or growths appear as the thyroid struggles in producing enough hormone. The pituitary gland will send hormone to make up for the under active Thyroid, but eventually, the race fails and hypothyroidism is evident.
- Lump in throat felt by a doctor and visible in some cases.
- Since the thyroid encompasses the throat the sufferer with a hoarse voice is suspect.
- Breathing obstructed by nodules or goiter is a concern.
Vascular dysfunction is of great consequence when the thyroid hormones cease functioning.
- Increased cholesterol builds up in arteries and increases heart disease probability.
- Fluid build-up around the heart makes it work harder.
- The risk of stroke and heart attack increase when the thyroid hormones decrease over time.
Peripheral Neuropathy caused by prolonged untreated hypothyroidism often affects nerve signal to parts of the body, indicated by pain and numbness.
Brain functionality and mental acuity diminished or altered by prolonged hypothyroidism.
- Depression is common in hypothyroidism sufferers
- Brain Fog, disturbing as someone deals with a prolong lack of endocrine hormones transmitted through the thyroid.
- Balance, gait and motor skills become slowed or inconsistent in hypothyroid patients.
Fertility problems from prolonged, or untreated hypothyroidism, concerns in a woman of child-bearing age. Since most hypothyroidism sufferers are women over 60 years of age, often overlooked as a reason for fertility problems. However, when a patient presents with trouble conceiving certain background circumstances are suspect and need closer scrutiny.
- Family history of thyroid disease
- Autoimmune disease history
- Radiation exposure to the throat
- Delivered a baby within past six months
Birth defects are a huge risk of a child in-utero when the mother-to-be is suffering from hypothyroidism.
- Children born of a hypothyroidism mother at risk for slow or alter brain development.
- Physical and mental delays of children born to mothers with hypothyroidism are reversible in some cases when the reason for the birth defect is detected early.
Certain drugs, therapies, conditions and treatments of other problems often associated with hypothyroidism.
Depression medication like Lithium, Amiodarone or some other antidepressants are linked to development of hypothyroidism
Having given birth within six months sometimes leads to temporary hypothyroidism and thought to lead to permanent hypothyroidism, later, requiring medication.
Radiation Therapy or excessive x-ray of the head and throat are high-risk factors for developing hypothyroidism.
Myxedema is a later stage of hypothyroidism where slowing systems run your body.
- Lowers blood pressure
- Slow respiration and breathing
- Lowers optimal body temperature
- Rare but left untreated is life-threatening.
Regular Doctor Appointments and Early Treatment
If you feel you exhibit symptoms of hypothyroidism it is essential to see your doctor. A simple blood test and extensive health and family history are all that a doctor needs to start a diagnosis of hypothyroidism. Often, the remedy is simple but may require further treatment depending on the length of time of hypothyroidism and damaging effects of the disease. When you suffer from prolonged hypothyroidism the sooner diagnosed and treated the better you will feel. Look for the risk factors, symptoms and communicate with your doctor regularly to keep on top of hypothyroidism problems and do not let prolonged, untreated hypothyroidism turn into a barrage of physical and mental problems.