The thyroid is the butterfly-shaped gland in your neck. This gland produces hormones that regulate your body’s energy use, along with many other important functions. Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid is underactive. When thyroid hormone production drops, your body’s processes slow down and change. Hypothyroidism can affect many different systems in your body.
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Hypothyroidism can affect your memory and your ability to think clearly. This mental fuzziness is sometimes called “brain fog.” Read More
A lack of thyroid hormone can cause you to lose hair on your scalp, face, and body. Read More
A goiter is an abnormally enlarged thyroid gland that can happen in people with diseases like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a common cause of hypothyroidism. Read More
Low thyroid hormone levels can increase blood pressure through interactions with the blood vessels and circulatory system. Read More
Too little thyroid hormone slows the body’s metabolism, which can lead to weight gain. Read More
Hypothyroidism may increase your risk for gallstones, hard pieces made up of substances like cholesterol or bile that form in your gallbladder. Read More
Slowed movement of food through your intestines can back up stool, making you constipated. Read More
Women with hypothyroidism may have irregular periods and changes in menstrual flow. Fertility can be affected too, making it harder to get pregnant. Read More
Low thyroid hormone levels can contribute to depression and sadness. Read More
Hypothyroidism can make you lose eyebrow hair. The hair loss usually starts at the outer edges of your brows. Read More
Infants born with hypothyroidism may have jaundice, the yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. Read More
Hypothyroidism that isn’t treated can interfere with how the nerves send signals to and from your brain, spinal cord, and body. Read More
Hypothyroidism may increase cholesterol levels and narrow arteries. This could contribute to an increased risk for heart attack. Read More
Hypothyroidism slows digestion. This can lead to heartburn and other gastrointestinal issues. Read More
A lack of thyroid hormone slows the movement of food through your digestive tract, which can leave your belly bloated. Read More
Low thyroid hormone levels directly affect the skin. This can cause a variety of changes, including dryness, thickening, and scaling. Read More
Low thyroid hormone production can leave your muscles weak, achy, or stiff. Read More
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Low thyroid hormone levels can contribute to depression and sadness. Read More
Hypothyroidism can affect your memory and your ability to think clearly. This mental fuzziness is sometimes called “brain fog.” Read More
Hypothyroidism that isn’t treated can interfere with how the nerves send signals to and from your brain, spinal cord, and body. Read More
A lack of thyroid hormone can cause you to lose hair on your scalp, face, and body. Read More
Hypothyroidism can make you lose eyebrow hair. The hair loss usually starts at the outer edges of your brows. Read More
Infants born with hypothyroidism may have jaundice, the yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. Read More
A goiter is an abnormally enlarged thyroid gland that can happen in people with diseases like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a common cause of hypothyroidism. Read More
Low thyroid hormone levels can increase blood pressure through interactions with the blood vessels and circulatory system. Read More
Hypothyroidism slows digestion. This can lead to heartburn and other gastrointestinal issues. Read More
Too little thyroid hormone slows the body’s metabolism, which can lead to weight gain. Read More
Hypothyroidism may increase cholesterol levels and narrow arteries. This could contribute to an increased risk for heart attack. Read More
A lack of thyroid hormone slows the movement of food through your digestive tract, which can leave your belly bloated. Read More
Slowed movement of food through your intestines can back up stool, making you constipated. Read More
Women with hypothyroidism may have irregular periods and changes in menstrual flow. Fertility can be affected too, making it harder to get pregnant. Read More
Hypothyroidism may increase your risk for gallstones, hard pieces made up of substances like cholesterol or bile that form in your gallbladder. Read More
Low thyroid hormone levels directly affect the skin. This can cause a variety of changes, including dryness, thickening, and scaling. Read More
Low thyroid hormone production can leave your muscles weak, achy, or stiff. Read More
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Hypothyroidism can affect your metabolism, mental functions, energy level, and bowel movements. Depending on how low your thyroid hormone production drops, your symptoms might be mild to severe. Sometimes symptoms like fatigue, weakness, and constipation can be hard to tell apart from other conditions. To confirm that you have hypothyroidism, your doctor will need to do blood tests to check your thyroid hormone levels.
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Endocrine system

When you have hypothyroidism, your body makes too little of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4. These hormones control your metabolism. They affect the way your body uses energy. As a result, many of your body’s main functions change and can slow down.

Circulatory and cardiovascular systems

Hypothyroidism slows your heart rate and weakens your heartbeat, making your heart less efficient at pumping blood out to your body. This can make you short of breath when you exercise. By narrowing your arteries, this condition can also raise blood pressure. Hypothyroidism can lead to high cholesterol. Together, high blood pressure and high cholesterol can increase your risk for heart disease.
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Nervous system

Untreated hypothyroidism can change how the nerves carry information to and from your brain, spinal cord, and body. This can cause a condition called peripheral neuropathy. Its symptoms include numbness, tingling, pain, or burning in the affected parts of your body.

Respiratory system

Too little thyroid hormone weakens the muscles you use to breathe and makes your lungs work less efficiently. As a result, you may feel short of breath or have trouble exercising. Hypothyroidism also makes it more likely to develop sleep apnea, which are pauses in breathing that happen while you sleep.
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Digestive system

Hypothyroidism slows the movement of food through your stomach and intestines. Slowed digestion can lead to symptoms like heartburn, constipation, and bloating.

Reproductive system

Women with hypothyroidism may have irregular periods, heavy periods, or missed periods. They can have trouble getting pregnant or be more likely to have a miscarriage if they do get pregnant.
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Other systems

Because too little thyroid hormone slows your body’s metabolism, it can cause general symptoms like:
  • fatigue
  • weight gain
  • cold intolerance
  • swelling of hands and feet
A lack of thyroid hormone can leave your skin dry and pale. It can also affect how you control your body temperature, making you sweat less than usual. Your hair — including the hair on your scalp and along the outer edges of your eyebrows — can become thin. Your nails may look different and become brittle. Hypothyroidism can affect every part of your body, from your brain to your skin. Yet the condition is different in everyone. Some people have mild symptoms while others have more severe symptoms. Taking medication your doctor prescribes is important so you can manage this condition and its symptoms and maintain a healthy lifestyle.