- An underactive thyroid symptoms include feeling drowsy, having a low mood and sensitivity to the cold
- These problems happen when the thyroid gland in your throat stops working normally
- Treatment invovles medication that you may have to take for the rest of your life
- It is also possible to have an overactive thyroid gland
The Thyroid gland is located in your neck, produce hormones that regulate how fast your body turns food into energy.
When this gland becomes less active, many of the body’s functions slow down, as it is no longer releasing enough of the hormone.
This causes the condition known as hypothyroidism, or having an underactive thyroid.
If not treated fast it can lead to complications including heart problems and goitre, or a lump in the throat.
These are the symptoms of the condition you should watch out for.
“Common symptoms [could be] a slowing down of mental and physical processes of the whole body,” said the British Thyroid Foundation.
This includes a constant feeling of fatigue and tiredness, sensitivity to the cold and constipation.
The Foundation also suggested that another symptom may be dry skin or hair.
As your body slows, it changes the way these areas appear.
Low mood and mental slowness, as well as heavy periods and fertility problems in women are also signs that you have the condition.
The NHS adds that you may also experience weight gain, muscle aches and a loss of your sex drive if you suffer from the condition.
“Elderly people with an underachieve thyroid may develop memory problems and depression,” said the national healthcare provider.
“Children may experience slower growth and development. Teenagers may start puberty earlier than normal.”
It is important to act quickly if you think you have the condition, as failing to get medication can have long term medical effects.
These include a low-pitched hoarse voice, puffy-looking face, thinned eyebrows, slow heart rate, hearing loss and anaemia.
Diagnosis may involve a physical examination and blood tests. The latter is to check the levels of the hormone produced by the thyroid gland in your blood.
Treatment of the condition involves the administration of levothyroxine tablets, which you will have to take daily for the rest of your life.
The British Thyroid Foundation then says that blood tests will be carried out every eight weeks after you start therapy until the correct dose of levothyroxine is established.
Dr Renee Hoenderkamp, GP and medical writer, touched on the subject in her online video blog.
“It’s definitely a woman’s problem – I’m one of them. One in fifty women have a thyroid problem, so it’s big. One in 1000 men – not so big. It increases with age, whether you’re a man or a woman.”