Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism

Michael Rosenberg
Michael Rosenberg

Specializes in translating complex information into readable, engaging content.

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce a sufficient amount of thyroid hormone. The signs and symptoms do not remain the same for every individual. The severity of the condition and other factors such as age also determine which signs should occur and when they should appear. The symptoms are sometimes vague and difficult to identify. Initial symptoms might include weight gain and constant fatigue. Such symptoms are usually not very clear, and the patient might not develop a clear idea about the disease and when more symptoms related to hypothyroidism start appearing then the person can identify the disease.

Some important signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism are as follows:


The patient does not feel energetic, and a feeling of constant tiredness overwhelms his/her activities. Fatigue can be physical, mental, or both.

Weight gain:

The patient starts gaining weight even without any addition to their eating patterns, which can become a real issue very quickly if not tackled properly.

Puffy, sensitive face:

The face of the patients can get swollen including the area close to the eyes, forehead, cheeks, and lips. The swelling might not only remain restricted to the face, but it can also involve the neck and the throat. In some cases, it leads to prominent inflammation of the neck.


People suffering from hypothyroidism can also suffer from depression. This might lead to uncontrollable emotions, disturbed sleep patterns, anxiety, changed food habits, a constant feeling of self loathing and losing interest in their daily activities.

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The digestive system of the patients can also get disturbed due to this disease. They can have hard, dry bowel movements which are often going fewer than three times a week.

Feeling Cold:

Patients suffering from hypothyroidism can become “cold intolerant” by becoming more sensitive to the cold. Their body starts experiencing more cold than normal and its capability to deal with cold also decreases. 

Declined sweating:

Sweating is important for the human body in order to cool down itself. Hypothyroidism might develop a symptom of declined sweating leading to hypohidrosis. The decline in sweating might affect certain parts of the body or even the whole body. It can be said that hypothyroidism affects the homeostasis of the patient’s body.

Slowed heart rate:

Heart rate is termed as the rate by which a heart beats per minute. It is a measure of cardiac activity. In patients with hypothyroidism, the heart rate falls to even less than 60 beats per second.

Higher cholesterol level:

Hypothyroidism can lead to hypercholesterolemia that is the excessive production and accumulation of cholesterol which hinders the smooth flow of blood through the arteries. This increase in the cholesterol level is also associated with the slowing down of the heart rate by hypothyroidism.

Dry skin:

Scaling, itching, and cracking of the skin can also be a symptom of hypothyroidism. Dryness might occur at certain parts of the body or the whole body.

Dry and thin hair:

The patient might suffer from a hair loss of mild to moderate level because of hypothyroidism. The scalp of the head gets dried and the hair starts weakening from the roots, leading to excessive hair breakage too.

Impaired memory:

Patients can suffer from mild to severe forms of memory change. The memory loss can be temporary or permanent and it can be a complete loss or a partial one.

Infertility difficulties:

It can make it harder for women to conceive also can result in frequent miscarriages of the patient as hypothyroidism affects fertility.

Menstrual cycle changes:

 It can lead to very heavy or very light menstruation or the absence of menstruation at all. The abnormalities in the menstrual cycle can be a sign of hypothyroidism.

Muscle Weakness:

Hypothyroidism can cause reduced muscle strength even after applying the effort to its fullest, the muscles of the patient do not produce a normal muscle contraction or movement, making them unable to make even the primary movements.

Muscle stiffness and aches: 

The muscles of the patient feel tight and make it difficult to move for the patient. The patient may also experience discomfort, cramping, and aches. The muscle stiffness and aches can be limited to certain muscles, and also it can involve the whole body muscles.

Pain and stiffness in the joints: 

Hypothyroidism can decrease the fluid amounts in the joints leading to stiffness in the joints. The patient may face difficulty in walking, standing, or putting weight on the joints. Moreover, the patient can also suffer from inflammation and pain around the joints.


It can cause an abnormal change in the voice of the patient that might be because of the dry and scratchy throat or laryngitis which is the inflammation of the larynx. This hoarseness of voice can be temporary or permanent.

For the majority of people, the symptoms of hypothyroidism advance gradually with the passage of time as the functioning of the thyroid slows down, and it becomes easier to identify the signs. Many of the symptoms of the disease have a lot to do with the age of the patient. The symptoms and their severity rely upon the age, medical history, and lifestyle of the patient as well. Though the signs might be vague initially, but as they start getting clear and prominent, one must see a doctor.

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Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism and Thyroid Tests


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