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The Complications of Untreated Hypothyroidism

The current and projected reports regarding prevalence and consequences of hypothyroidism are staggering, as people increasingly become victims of partial knowledge in medical science. Around 80% of thyroid diseases have been linked to this condition. Of the 200 million who are suffering worldwide, it is estimated that half of them are either untreated or undiagnosed. If untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to a number of health problems. While the disease itself does not cause death, it causes conditions that may eventually lead to death.

While people often speak of this condition as a disease that is occurring inside, in reality at least more than fifty percent experience goiter. This is a result of constant stimulation of thyroid to produce more hormones. The gland enlarges itself causing the neck area to bulge. Someone suffering from goiter experiences a gradual deterioration of self-esteem and noticeable personality changes, as well as problems with breathing and swallowing. Uncontrolled or untreated thyroid conditions may also cause damage to peripheral nerves. These nerves are the major source of carrying information between the brain and the rest of the body. Peripheral neuropathy symptoms may include tingling, numbness or pain in the affected area as well as loss of muscle control.


As previously stated, this condition accounts for a majority of goiter cases. This does not mean other health problems in the body can be chalked up to something else. One of the side effects is increased risk of heart disease. This is due to high levels of LDL or bad cholesterol that impair the normal blood pumping ability of the heart. Sometimes, subclinical or a benign condition can also cause increases in LDL levels. The rate of progression of heart disease is different for each person. Typically, if the heart enlarges, the condition may become serious enough to cause death.

Another consequence is a rare life-threatening illness called Myxedema. Because the sufferer’s body is also considerably weakened due to the condition, the patient will be at ahigher risk for Myxedema. The patient will experience severe cold or intolerance to it, drowsiness throughout the day, and even sometimes unconsciousness. These types of symptoms can be severe and require immediate thyroid treatment. Certain sedatives and infections may also trigger Myxedema, leading to coma. Apart from the above conditions, a person suffering from a thyroid condition may become more prone to depression and other mental issues. He or she may lose interest in appearance, manners and hygiene. The patient may have difficulty sleeping for extended periods, inability to think clearly, restlessness and other problems due to slowed mental functioning.

Because thyroidism interferes with ovulation, many researchers equate it with infertility. Some of the side effects resulting from this condition can also impair fertility permanently. This condition is also one of the major causes of birth defects in babies. Children born with these defects are more prone to developmental problems. As the symptoms begin to manifest themselves in these children, people look around for any explanation other than the obvious. However, the chances of normal development can be increased with thyroid treatment if the children are treated early during the first few months of life. The key is to find a thyroid specialist at a well-established clinic, such as the Broadview Spine & Health Centre, for hypothyroidism treatment sessions as soon as possible.

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