What happens if hypothyroidism is left untreated?


Diagnosis of hypothyroidism is important in a clinical setting which may help evaluate and potentially treat the patient.

Primary hypothyroidism is characterized by a high serum thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) concentration and a low serum free thyroxine (T4) concentration. On the other hand, subclinical hypothyroidism is defined biochemically as a normal free T4 concentration in the presence of an elevated TSH concentration.

Yet another for is called as Secondary (central) hypothyroidism is characterized by a low serum T4 concentration and a serum TSH concentration that is not elevated to be called s remarkable finding in blood report.

Over 90 percent of all hypothyroidism cases are likely to be Primary and Secondary Hypothyroidism is likely to be a hypothalamic or a pituitary disease and should further be evaluated for a potential mass lesion likely to be present in the pituitary gland or could be associated with other hormonal deficiencies.

Due to errors expected, when only TSH is measured in patients with secondary or central hypothyroidism or TSH-mediated hyperthyroidism, it is recommended that both serum TSH and free T4 be measured in all patients for screening purposes.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

●Lack of energy

●Getting cold easily

●Developing coarse or thin hair

●Getting constipated (having too few bowel movements)

Thyroid hormone normally stimulates the metabolism, and most symptoms of hypothyroidism slow down metabolic processes. Some common symptoms may include fatigue, sluggishness, slight weight gain, and intolerance of cold temperatures.

Largely hypothyroidism is a permanent condition and may require lifelong treatment. Thyroid hormone replacement therapy is recommended in most cases other than, people who have hypothyroidism which is transient (as after painless thyroiditis or subacute thyroiditis) or reversible (due to a drug that can be discontinued).

ATA goes ahead and reports, “ Hypothyroidism that begins before birth and through the age of 3, when left untreated, puts babies and children at risk for mental retardation. Untreated severe hypothyroidism slows both brain development and physical growth (cretinism). In the United States and some other developed countries, all babies are tested for hypothyroidism a few days after birth so that they can be diagnosed and begin treatment right away , if hypothyroid”.

The worse untreated hypothyroidism beco m es, the less the b o dy is able to cope with stre s sors li k e cold weat h er, infectio n s or even minor surgery. Severe hypothyroidism is called myxedema. Usually it takes years for hypothyroidism to reach the point of myxed e m a, but people who do not have a t h y r o i d ( be c ause o f surgery or radioactive iodine treat m ent) can progress to m yxede m a in months. In people with m yxed e ma, the body slows to the point that it s t arts to shut down. At its worst, the person falls into a co m a. To s urvive a m yxede m a co m a, people need good supportive care in the hospital intensive care unit. M yxedema is now rare in developed countries

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