Understanding the Long term Side effects of Hypothyroidism
What is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is a common disorder that occurs due to insufficient amount of production of thyroid hormone from thyroid gland. It occurs due to presence of underactive thyroid gland in an individual.
If the level of thyroid hormone doesn’t remain normal for a quite long time, it might results in many of the symptomatic conditions inside the body. This could result in producing long term effects of hypothyroidism in an individual.
People who are suffering from hypothyroidism are having a very low level of thyroid hormone in their blood. This low level indicates the onset of many abnormal processes in an individual.
With the passage of time, these symptoms can result in serious side –effects. The significant unwanted changes that are instigated due to lower level of hypothyroidism can be characterized as side effects of hypothyroidism.
It is one of the common disorders of thyroid gland and is more prominently present in female population as compare to male population. The effects of hypothyroidism are noticed visibly with the progression of the disease.
Thyroid gland is a vital gland of the body that is located in the front lower part of the neck. Hormones are released by these glands. These hormones further get intermixed in the bloodstream. They produce desirable effects in nearly every part of the body, including brain, heart, muscles and skin.
Metabolic activities are controlled by the regulation of thyroid gland inside the body. Thyroid gland of the body is responsible to take a control over the body’s temperature, heart rate and other vital organs in an individual.
In absence of normal level of thyroid hormone, the processes of body get slower down. The lower level of metabolic activities results in production of less energy in an individual. It may cause weakening of the proper processes inside the body.
The side effects of hypothyroidism are severe, if left untreated for a longer time of period. One of the most common causes of long term effects of hypothyroidism is the presence of auto- immune disorder in an individual.
The antibodies defensive response may trigger the inflammatory response inside the thyroid gland and might result in production of lower level of thyroid hormone.
What are the side effects of Hypothyroidism?
The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped gland that is present in the front of the neck. The effects of hypothyroidism occur when the imbalance of thyroid hormone stays for a prolonged time.
The long term effects of hypothyroidism might occur due to increased imbalance of thyroid hormone in an individual. The side effects of hypothyroidism occurs due to improper regulation of metabolic activities for a prolonged time.
The underactive thyroid may result in many of the effects of hypothyroidism in an individual. Apart from metabolic disturbances, the effects of hypothyroidism might interfere with the mental functions, energy level and bowel movements.
The severity of symptoms is interlinked with the progression of the disease and the time duration. The dropped level of thyroid hormone plays a significant role in creating long term effects of hypothyroidism in an individual.
If we talk about the individual effects of hypothyroidism in different systems of the body, we have a list that describes the severity of the disease.
Effects of Hypothyroidism on Endocrine System
Endocrine system is a little factory of hormones that produces n – number of hormones for the normal regulation of different processes inside the body. In presence of hypothyroidism, the body secretes very less amount of thyroid hormones i.e. T3 and T4.
These hormones are solely responsible for maintaining the metabolic activities of the body. The disturbance in their level may result in less amount of energy used in body and are termed as significant side effects of hypothyroidism. They could also result in lower down of many functions of body. They are responsible for introducing the long term effects of hypothyroidism in such population.
Effects of Hypothyroidism on Circulatory and Cardiovascular Systems
The effects of hypothyroidism in cardiovascular system are also visible and significant. It may reduce down the rhythm of heart pumping. It causes the lower heart rate than the normal pace of heart. The reduction in supply of blood from heart can disturb the availability of oxygen in the blood. This is one of the long term effects of hypothyroidism that is present in cases where thyroid insufficiency is prevalent from a longer duration.
If left untreated for a longer time, it may result in introduction of Dyspnea. The recurrent attack of shortness of breath could be dangerous and might result in serious outcomes. This is considered as one of the dangerous side effects of hypothyroidism.
The lower level of oxygen in blood is possible for lesser activities of individual. This starts a vicious cycle of narrowing down of arteries and raised high blood pressure.
Once the cycle keeps on continuing for a longer time, it might result in high level of cholesterol. The longer level of cholesterol introduces the various heart problems in an individual.
Hence, it can be concluded that the longer effects of hypothyroidism may cause heart abnormalities too.
Effects of Hypothyroidism on Nervous System
The effects of hypothyroidism can interfere with the abnormalities of nervous system. Untreated hypothyroidism may interfere with the inflow and outflow of signals from brain, spinal cord to body and vice – versa. This is one of the serious side effects of hypothyroidism.
The above condition is most commonly known as Peripheral Neuropathy. It occurs as a result of long term side effects of hypothyroidsm.
The symptoms might include numbness, tingling pain, respiratory problems and many more. The parts of neuron become insensitive to receive and take information from the signals.
Effects of Hypothyroidism on Respiratory System
The little amount of thyroid hormone inside the body may weaken the inspiratory and expiratory muscles of respiratory system and could create long term effects of hypothyroidism by weakening the normal functioning of the system.
The interrupted action of respiratory muscles could act as a hindrance for the lungs expansion. This may result in shortness of breath and severe episodes of Dyspnea. If left untreated, this might also cause sleep apnea. It is advised to seek medical help at the earliest to avoid any of the side effects of hypothyroidism on lungs and diaphragm.
Effects of Hypothyroidism on Digestive System
The presence of lower level of hypothyroidism may slower down the movement of food through stomach and intestines. It occurs due to insufficient amount of thyroid hormone in the body. The inadequate amount of thyroid hormone could create long term effects of hypothyroidism on the proper functioning of digestive system.
The lower amount of thyroid hormone reduces the intestinal activities inside the body. the effects of hypothyroidism in digestive systems could be identified as presence of symptoms such as heartburn, constipation and bloating. If left untreated, these side effects of hypothyroidism may prove to be fatal.
Effects of Hypothyroidism on Reproductive System
Women suffering from hypothyroidism may suffer from heavy and irregular menstrual cycle. Sometimes, they often have missed periods. All these side effects on reproductive system of a woman can result in difficulty in getting pregnant. The increased probability of infertility is considered as one of the side effects of hypothyroidism in females.
In few of the cases, they might also suffer from miscarriage. The longer side effects of hypothyroidism are serious and should get rectified with time.
Effects of Hypothyroidism on Other systems of Human Body
The deficiency of little thyroid in the body can slower down the process of other organs of the body too. Here is the list of generic symptoms that do occur as a result of side effects of hypothyroidism.
- Episodes of increased fatigue
- Abnormal and excessive weight gain
- Increased intolerance to cold temperature
- Increased and prominent swelling in hands and feet
- Increased dryness on skin
- Increased paleness on skin
All these changes can result in improper regulation of body temperature. The decreased level of sweating can be an alarming signal of hypothyroidism. It may get worsen with addition of thinning of hair on scalp and other edges of eyebrow. All these physical alterations come under the list of long term effects of hypothyroidism in an individual.
The deficiency of thyroid could be determined by the outlook of your nails too. The presence of thyroid hormone makes the outer appearance different and brittle.
Side Effects of Hypothyroidism in Females
The presence of hypothyroidism in females is responsible for initiating many of the changes in normal mechanism of body. These side effects of hypothyroidism in females could be characterized as:
- Fatigue: There is an increase level of fatigue in females, suffering from hypothyroidism. It occurs because the lower level of thyroid hormone inside the body, initiates the lesser metabolic activities.
This lowering of graph contributes to less energy production with higher energy consumption to perform any activity. This imbalance leads to sudden requirement of energy in the body. Hence, is one of the long term effects of hypothyroidism in females.
The insufficient amount of energy creates frequent burst out of fatigue in females. The diagnosed females often complain of getting tired and restlessness with a little activity, which is one of the side effects of hypothyroidism.
- Constipation: This is one of the other effects of hypothyroidism in females. It occurs as the metabolic rate in hypothyroidism gets disturbed due to lower amount of thyroid hormone. This could lead to derangements in intestinal and stomach functioning.
It could further lead to recurrent constipation or hard stools in affected population of females.
- Increased sensitivity to cold: Woman suffering from hypothyroidism might get intolerant to the colder atmosphere. This sudden change in the sensitivity level occurs as one of the effects of hypothyroidism and might result in excessive intolerance for the same.
- Dry Skin: The skin needs oxygen for proper breathing. Due to reduction in level of hypothyroidism, the metabolic requirements and supply of oxygen gets interrupted.
This could result in producing visible impact on the texture of skin. In females, the increased dryness of skin is more commonly documented in case of hypothyroidism. It is considered as one of the long term effects of hypothyroidism.
- Unexplained weight gain: The abnormal weight gain is one of the most common side effects of hypothyroidism that has been encountered by the females, who are suffering from hypothyroidism.
- Elevated Cholesterol level: Due to change in the levels of thyroid hormone, the metabolic regulation of body gets obstructed. It might cause high blood pressure in females. The raised blood pressure can be a responsible cause for high cholesterol levels in hypothyroidism in females. This is one of the documented side effects of hypothyroidism in females.
- Irregular menstrual cycle: The irregularity of menstrual cycle is connected with the lower level of thyroid hormone. Women suffering from hypothyroidism may complaint of irregular or disturbed menstrual cycles.
In few of the cases, the chances of missing the periods might also occur as a long term effects of hypothyroidism.
- Heavy bleeding: The interrupted metabolic regulation of body reacts on reproductive system of females. As a prolong effects of hypothyroidism in females, one can have heavy bleeding during her menstrual cycle.
- Miscarriage: The probability of getting a miscarriage is certainly high in expecting mothers, who are diagnosed with hypothyroidism. The episodes of miscarriage is one of the side effects of hypothyroidism in expecting mothers.
- Difficulty in conceiving: The disturbance in the hormonal level of reproductive system in females might interfere with the capability of conceiving. This has been documented as one of the most important reason of infertility in females.
All these side effects of hypothyroidism may occur individually or in group in females. The severity of effects is dependent upon the level of thyroid and progress of the disease.
The long term effects of hypothyroidism might require proper medical care and course to get cured properly.
Long Term Effects of Hypothyroidism
We have already discussed the effects of hypothyroidism in individuals. If hypothyroidism is left untreated for longer time of time, it may impact the different processes of body more abundantly.The visible unwanted changes are termed as long term effects of hypothyroidism.
The side effects of hypothyroidism should be closely monitored and should be treated as an emergency to prevent further damage.
It is very important to understand the symptoms of hypothyroidism in detail and to keep regular screening of thyroid hormone. This helps in offering an earlier care to the impending danger of long term effects of hypothyroidism.
If left untreated for a prolonged time, hypothyroidism may result in following long term effects in an individual.
Birth Defects due to Side Effects of Hypothyroidism
It majorly occurs in females. The expecting mothers are advised to keep a thorough check of their thyroid level during the pregnancy tenure. The long term effects of hypothyroidism may interfere with the normal growth of fetus inside the womb.
Hypothyroidism in pregnancy can end up into serious health issues for both, child and mother. The probability of getting birth defects in certainly high in the child, who is growing inside the womb of a hypothyroidism mother. They could have serious mental as well as physical health issues that could result in irreversible damage to the unborn child. These unwanted changes are considered as side effects of hypothyroidism.
Goiter as a Side Effect of Hypothyroidism
If the level of thyroid remains inadequate for a longer period of time, it might result in permanent damage to the body. Goiter is one of the side effects of hypothyroidism that occurs because of the recurrent excessive stimulation of thyroid gland to produce enough hormone.
It might appear as an enlarged bulging on neck and is known as Goiter. It occurs as a result of long term effects of hypothyroidism and should be treated with proper medical intervention.
The prolonged effects of hypothyroidism may introduce serious health issues to the proper functioning of heart. The excessive fluctuation of blood pressure due to abnormal thyroid level may result in accumulation of bad cholesterol inside the body.
This might result in deterioration of the healthy movement of arteries inside and outside the heart and can cause heart problems. The deteriorating heart condition is one of the side effects of hypothyroidism.
The abnormalities are more common and are at high risk in individuals who have prominent long term effects of hypothyroidism.
Infertility due to due to Side Effects of Hypothyroidism
The long untreated hypothyroidism may affect the infertility of women. The disturbed hormonal balance in the body can interfere with the fertility of women.
It is advisable to get it cured by time as hypothyroidism could create unnecessary pressure to the ovary and other delicate parts of reproductive system.
The delayed in treatment might introduce long terms effects of hypothyroidism in a female. These side effects of hypothyroidism are responsible for increasing the infertility rate in women suffering from hypothyroidism.
Mental health issues may be one of the Side Effects of Hypothyroidism
The prolonged exposure to reduced level of thyroid may create imbalance in the mental health of an individual. Thyroid deficiency should be diagnosed and treated at the earliest.
due to Side Effects of Hypothyroidism May Alsso Result in Myxedema
It is a condition, which occurs due to excessive long exposure to the thyroid deficiency. It is also termed as prolonged untreated severe hypothyroidism in body. It occurs as a result of long term effects of hypothyroidism.
It is a life – threatening condition that should be treated as medical emergency.
The side effects of hypothyroidism, if left untreated for longer time could be dangerous and should be given proper medical attention at the earliest.
Effects of Untreated Hypothyroidism
We have already discussed about the effects of hypothyroidism. The long term effects of hypothyroidism are mentioned above and are a reason to seek medical help.
However, if left untreated hypothyroidism could bring irreversible damage to the different age groups of people.
Hypothyroidism in Infants and Children- Long Term Side Effects
It is a very rare condition that could be noticed in early stages of life. In early detection of hypothyroidism, the interference of medical treatment would seldom bring any effects.
In untreated cases, hypothyroidism may lead to brain damage, intellectual disability and development delays. It is more common on infants, who inherited hypothyroidism from their mothers.
If hypothyroidism occurs after the age of 3, there will be no or minimum chances of getting intellectual disability. Untreated hypothyroidism might delay the puberty in individuals or could result in excessive weight gain. These physical unwanted alterations are termed as side effect of hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism in Adults & Side Effects of Hypothyroidism
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is one of the common causes of hypothyroidism in adults. It occurs due o gradual loss of thyroid function over a period of time.
Symptoms may develop slowly but in cases, they turn out to be worse. Untreated hypothyroidism may lead to following symptoms:
Myxedema: Results in swelling of tissues, increase in fluid retention around heart and lungs. It might slower down the reflex system of the body too.
Myxedema coma: It is a rare, life – threatening condition that may become worse with prolonged untreated hypothyroidism. it may be associated with other complications such as:
- Stroke due to increase level of cholesterol, triglycerides
- Pericardial effusion due to excessive fluid retention around heart
- Sleep apnea that could cause breathlessness while sleeping
- Dementia due to impaired and poor memory
Side Effects of Medication in Hypothyroidism
Medication is important to treat hypothyroidism. But in few cases, there are many of the effects of medication in an individual. Some of them are listed as below:
Headache: One of the most common occurred side –effects of hypothyroidism medications.
Insomnia: The troubled sleep is one of the side effects that occur due to external exposure of thyroid hormone artificially. It is one of the long term effects of hypothyroidism.
Nervousness: With the introduction of artificial thyroid hormone, sometimes body takes time to get settle. This internal disturbance might be reflected outside as episodes of nervousness.
Irritability: The extremes of mood swings are one of the effects of hypothyroidism medications that are documented by the individuals, who are taking it from a longer time period.
Fever: The body’s temperature regulation is maintained by the level of thyroid hormone. The external introduction of hypothyroidism in form of tablets might interfere with the normal regulation. It may result in high grade fever.
Sweating: Excessive sweating of fluid from the body in the form of sweat is one of the side effects of hypothyroidism medication. It is more commonly seen in the palms, hand and face of an individual.
Pounding heart beat: The response of various processes of body may differ with introduction of thyroid hormone artificially. Pounding heart beat or fluttering of chest is one of the medication side effects of hypothyroidism.
In case of allergic reactions, difficulty in breathing, swelling on face, lips, tongue or throat , it is advisable to consult a doctor at the earliest.
Side Effects of Hypothyroidism in Male
The probability of having hypothyroidism in male population is certainly low. However, if it occurs it may cause serious side effects in them.
The following side effects of hypothyroidism in male are as follows:
- Cold intolerance: The chances to get increased sensitivity to cold get higher in males suffering from hypothyroidism.
- Getting tired easily: The stamina of an individual suffering from hypothyroidism gets reduced due to insufficient amount of thyroid hormone. This results in easy breakthrough of getting tired in response to minimum physical activities.
- Scaling and Brittle nails: The scaling and brittleness occurs as a result of reduction in the amount of thyroid hormone in an individual.
- Constipation: The irregular bowel movements are as a result of disturbed metabolic mechanism in body that hampers the proper functioning of digestive system in males.
- Depression: The extremes of mental disturbance because of irregular metabolic activities can lead to serious bursts of depression. It should be treated at the earliest.
All these side effects of hypothyroidism are noticed in males. Once reported, should be treated as early as possible.
Hypothyroidism during Pregnancy effects on Baby
Expected mothers need to be extra care with their health. In cases where mothers are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, they need to keep their medications on a regular basis to ensure health of child is maintained.
Hypothyroidism is a medical condition where inadequate amount of thyroid is produced. It is more common in child bearing age. The presence of hypothyroidism could also delay in development of child’s physical as well as mental growth.
The medication to cure the long term effects of hypothyroidism should be started at the earliest, even in the borderline thyroid presence.
Prior to the birth of a child, the level of thyroid in mother is solely responsible to offer proper growth o the child inside the womb. The effects of hypothyroidism start at the earliest stage of pregnancy.
The presence of hypothyroidism in mother can delay the overall growth of the child. It is highly recommended to perform frequent screening of thyroid level in expected mothers.
The level of thyroid in mother and the growth of baby inside the uterus are dependent on each other. The mother’s inadequate amount of thyroid can delay or stop the growth of child.
Researchers have studies about the detail link between the two. It has been documented that the untreated hypothyroidism in expecting mothers may create a lower level of IQ in the children.
The delayed physical development can be a hindrance to a child and he will face serious irreversible damage because of the thyroid insufficiency.
Apart from IQ and physical growth, the reduced level of thyroid can impair the cognitive ability of a child. The delayed puberty is also an added effect of hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism Treatment Side Effects in Females Males and Baby
To cure hypothyroidism, medical health care supports the level of thyroid in the gland with the help of thyroid medications and are administered, it could result in severe side effects of hypothyroidism treatment.
In case of mid effects, one can ignore them. However, if the presence of treatment is strong enough to disturb an individual, it should not be ignored and should be informed to the concerned health care practitioner.
Here is the list of few side effects of hypothyroidism treatment that should bring in notice of your doctor, at the earliest.
- Frequent headache: Headache is one of the reasons of abnormal metabolic regulation inside the body. Many medications to correct hypothyroidism are correlated to induce frequent episodes of headache in an individual.
In case of high intensity of headaches, concerned doctor should be informed. Re-occurrence of headache is an alarming signal for deterioration of health.
- Disturbed Sleep patterns: Insomnia is a condition where an individual finds it difficult to have a sound and healthy sleep. The interrupted sleep could be a major reason in making an individual unfit to perform his regular chores.
Sleep is required to restore the energy , consumed whole day. In case, one is not able to take enough sleep, his productivity in life could be visibly hampered. This is one of the most annoying side effects of hypothyroidism.
- Nervousness: It occurs due to sudden increase of thyroid hormone inside the body
- Irritability : The introduction of artificial thyroid hormone can create irritable reactions inside the body. It might result in increased irritability and irritation in body. These could occur due to long term effect of hypothyroidism in an individual.
Symptoms are at highest peak during the initial days of treatment. It happens because body needs time to get along with the external dosage of thyroid hormone. All these reactions are in intense stage during the onset of treatment.
However, with the duration of time these symptoms starts getting settled. In the first week of treatment, symptoms gradually starts to get reduced.The complete removal of symptoms do occur after few months.
The administration of treatment is essential to counter part the harmful damage produced by the inadequate amount of thyroid hormone inside the body.
The on- time treatment may help in decreasing the risk of slowed physical growth, mental growth,intellectual disability and behavioral problems in infants and children. It also plays a vita role in lowering the risk of long term effects of hypothyroidism in both child and mother.
The above points could be correlated with the fact that thyroid medicines might not create any significant side – effects of hypothyroidism, if taken in right amount.
Guidelines for Prevention of Side Effects During Hypothyroidism
Here are the Guidelines for Prevention of Side Effects During Hypothyroidism in human body, especially in females, males and a baby.
- Hyperthyroidism is an endocrine disorder and it might require medical attention to reduce its impact. The prolonged use of medications to treat hyperthyroidism might create internal interference in the proper well -being of an individual and should be taken a good care to prevent them.
- The associated side – effects of hypothyroidism are already discussed above in this article. Here are few of the treatment guidelines that might help in reducing the side effects of hypothyroidism medication in an individual.
- Many of the studies revealed that the introduction of Levothyroxine therapy as a mono-therapy may instigate the abnormalities in an individual.
- Levothyroxine is strongly recommended as the initial choice for the treatment of hypothyroidism due to its efficacy in quickly resolving the symptoms of hypothyroidism and inducing long-term experience of benefits. It also holds qualities such as favorable side effect profile, ease of administration, good intestinal absorption, long serum half-life, and low cost.
- Clinical parameters such as cold sensitivity and dry skin should be kept in mind useful for assessing adequacy of levothyroxine replacement in primary hypothyroidism. It may help in preventing the onset of side effects of hypothyroidism medication in an individual.
- Levothyroxine should be taken either 60 minutes before breakfast or at bedtime as its collaborative effects with food can likely introduce the side – effects more prominently.
- The next guideline to prevent the side effects is to make sure no other medication is being taken altogether with thyroid medications. it could result in mismatching of the pharmacological action of the drugs inside the body.
- In cases where heavy dose of medicine is recommended, prior check up for the presence of gastrointestinal disorder should be done in well advance to minimize the impact of hypothyroidism medications.
- Re -evaluation of Serum TSH should be done at steady state, in cases where the dosage or brand of the regular medication is replaced by new one.
- Prior to start the treatment of hypothyroidism, the dosage should be decided on the basis of body mass index of the individual. This helps in determining the precise dose of thyroid hormone inside the body. This also helps in preventing from excessive accumulation of thyroid hormone in the body.
- Another important guideline to prevent the side effects of hypothyroidism treatment is to make sure that the initiation of treatment should not contain complete replacement therapy. It should be either less or partial quantity of hormone therapy. It will help in minimizing the long term effects of hypothyroidism.
- In case allergic reactions occurs in response to the drug interaction inside the body, the dosage of Levothyroxine should be altered or brand of the medicine could be changed.
- If a patient has a present or previous history of disturbed mental health, the medical opinion of Psychiatrist should be also taken into consideration while starting down the treatment procedure.
- For older population, the dose should be fairly low in starting and should be titrated slowly, keeping in mind the values of serum thyrotropin. The long term effects of hypothyroidism should also be taken in consideration.
- In pregnant women, the dosage of serum thyrotropin is given in accordance to the specific range required at every trimester. It is advised to make sure side effects of hypothyroidism does not interfere with the normal growth of the child.
- Henceforth, by following above discussed guidelines the prevention of the side effects of hypothyroidism might become more easy and convenient. More than half of the hypothyroidism patients are struggling with the side ts of hypothyroidism treatment.
- It is strongly recommended to follow the treatment guidelines of hypothyroidism to make sure the associated side -effects of hypothyroidism medications could be overcome or reduced to a significant level.
- Along with the guidelines, the regular screening of thyroid level should also be done to make sure about the administration of proper dose of medicine in the body.
Stay Happy and Stay Healthy
Healthy Wishes from Healthlove.in Team