Thyroid Disease (cont.)

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What signs and symptoms can occur if thyroid function is affected?

Symptoms of hypothyroidism may occur if the thyroid is under-active. Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism vary widely, depending on the severity of hormone deficiency. Some common complaints experienced by people with hypothyroidism include:

Hyperthyroidism is suggested by a number of signs and symptoms. Patients with mild disease usually experience no symptoms. In those older than 70 years of age, classic manifestations may also be absent. In general, the symptoms become more obvious as the condition worsens. Symptoms are usually related to an increase in body metabolism. Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Heat intolerance
  • Increased bowel movements
  • Tremor (usually a fine shake)
  • Nervousness; agitation
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased concentration
  • Irregular and scant menstrual flow

In older patients, irregular heart rhythms and even heart failure can occur. In its most severe form, untreated hyperthyroidism may result in "thyroid storm," a condition involving high blood pressure, fever, and heart failure. Mental changes such as confusion and delirium may also occur. In Graves' disease, there may be eye changes and skin changes in addition to the other findings listed above.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/7/2013

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