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Underactive thyroid (Hypothyroid) Complications

If left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to several other health issues.

Goiter:

A goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland. The symptoms of a goiter include:

• Swelling of the throat, ranging from a small lump to a huge mass.
• Swallowing problems, if the goiter is large enough to press on the esophagus (food pipe).
• Breathing problems, if the goiter is large enough to press on the trachea (windpipe).

Heart ailments:

Hypothyroidism may also be associated with an increased risk of heart disease, primarily because high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol- the 'bad' cholesterol can occur in people with an Underactive thyroid. Hypothyroidism can also lead to an enlarged heart and heart failure.

Mental health:

It may lead to the slowness of the mental activity. Depression may occur early in hypothyroidism and may become more severe over time.

Myxedema:

This is a rare, life-threatening condition, which results due to prolonged, severe, untreated hypothyroidism. The symptoms include intense cold intolerance and drowsiness followed by profound lethargy and unconsciousness. The skin becomes dry and puffy.

A more severe condition referred to as Myxedema coma, it occurs in any case, would call for immediate medical help.

Concerning females and childbirth-related issues:

Infertility, as well as miscarriage, are the commonly encountered complications seen in females with untreated hypothyroidism. The babies born to women with untreated thyroid disease may have a higher risk of birth defects. These children are also more prone to serious intellectual and developmental problems.

Infants with untreated hypothyroidism present at birth are also at risk of serious problems with both physical and mental development. But if the condition is diagnosed within the first few months of life, the chances of normal development are excellent.

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