Thyroid Disease Signs and Symptoms

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Doctor's View on Thyroid Disease Signs and Symptoms

Comment by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

Thyroid disease can strike anyone, although many types of thyroid diseases are more common in adult women than in men, children, or teenagers. The specific symptoms of thyroid disease depend upon the exact condition and whether the thyroid gland is under- or over-producing thyroid hormone. In some cases, thyroid disease may not have apparent symptoms.


If your thyroid hormone levels are too low, you can experience weight gain, feeling cold, mental cloudiness, depression, menstrual changes, fatigue, or fluid retention. Muscle aches, constipation, weakness, thinning hair, and slowing of the pulse rate can occur. Mild hypothyroidism may not produce symptoms. Sometimes the symptoms are so nonspecific that you might not recognize them as signs of hypothyroidism, and the symptoms vary widely among people. You may have symptoms come on slowly and be difficult to recognize; sometimes people with hypothyroidism can be misdiagnosed as having psychological or have other physical conditions. Hashimoto's thyroiditis (an autoimmune condition) is a common cause of hypothyroidism.


If you have an overactive thyroid it can cause a rapid heart rate, tremor, nervousness, sweating, increase in bowel movements, heat intolerance, fatigue, and weight loss. As with hypothyroidism, symptoms vary in severity. Hyperthyroidism is less common than hypothyroidism.

Thyroid cancer

A lump or nodule in the thyroid gland is the most common sign of thyroid cancer. Most thyroid nodules, however, are not cancerous.

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REFERENCE: Thyroiditis.

Last Editorial Review: 7/17/2013 6:00:18 PM