The thyroid gland is the “master controller” of metabolism.
Key symptoms of hypothyroidism
The symptoms of hypothyroidism are unpleasant and can affect a person’s self-esteem, work, and home and family life.1-4
If left untreated, hypothyroidism can cause more serious complications and even become life-threatening. Severe complications of hypothyroidism include:
Who is at risk?
Diagnosing thyroid dysfunction
Many people remain undiagnosed with thyroid problems and suffer for a long time as their symptoms are confused with those of other conditions, such as depression or weight gain. 6 Thyroid dysfunction can be confirmed by your doctor through a simple blood test.6
If you are concerned that you could be suffering from problems with your thyroid gland, please discuss this with your doctor. To aid your consultation, download our Wellbeing Diary to help you keep a check of the symptoms you are experiencing, or try our short thyroid disorders symptom checker.
How hypothyroidism is treated
Treatment for thyroid dysfunction is straightforward, well-established, and highly effective.6 As there is no cure for hypothyroidism, the aim of treatment is to replace the missing thyroid hormones in the body.6 Appropriate medication, taken daily, should enable patients to live a symptom-free life.6
If you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, it is important to remember that treatment is a lifelong commitment and medication has to be taken every day, even when your symptoms are under control.6 This may seem a bit daunting, but by taking control of your condition and complying with your medication you should be able to remain symptom-free.6 It is advisable to see your doctor more frequently if any changes in your condition occur.
How thyroid hormones impact your heart
The heart is a major target of thyroid hormones.
Too little thyroid hormone as a consequence of an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) may cause:7
Even mild hypothyroidism worsens heart disease
Mild hypothyroidism affects 4–20% of the population and is more common in women than in men.8 Older people are more likely to suffer from a slightly underactive thyroid gland.6 If you have both heart disease and a slightly underactive thyroid then it is vital that your thyroid is returned to normal function. The presence of both diseases is associated with increased risk for death from heart disease.9
Date of preparation: February 2022