Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is underactive. This condition has implications all over the body because the thyroid secretes many hormones that are used for normal body functions as well as for stimulating other hormones.
Some of the long term side effects of hypothyroidism are as follows:
Heart disease -- There is a link between hypothyroidism and heart disease. High blood levels of homocysteine is known to increase the risk of heart attack three times that of men with normal homocysteine. Now there is evidence to prove that hypothyroidism can increase the level of homocysteine. If hypothyroidism is treated, it has been observed that the level of homocysteine also can come down to normal levels. This in turn can reduce the risk of heart attack.
Circulation -- The progress of heart disease reduces blood circulation to heart muscles and other organs. The blood supply to skin gets reduced and this gives rise to cracked skin, chronically cold hands and feet.
Susceptibility to infection -- Individuals with hyperthyroidism become more susceptible to viral and bacterial infections of respiratory and urinary tracts. Sinus problems, sore throats, tonsillitis, pneumonia and other respiratory problems can become quite common. The urinary infections can lead to kidney dysfunction.
Depression and mental confusion -- Hypothyroidism is known to cause fatigue and low energy levels. This can cause depression and other psychological problems.
Enlargement of the thyroid -- This is also known as goiter. The pituitary gland has a controlling role to play on the functioning of the thyroid gland and the secretion of thyroid hormones. When the thyroid gland is not producing sufficient quantity of thyroid hormone, pituitary gland increases the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) to stimulate the thyroid gland to increase the quantity of thyroid hormone. Since the thyroid gland is unable to produce this, the thyroid gland gets enlarged. This takes may years to manifest.
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