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Thyroid problems.

Thyroid problems.
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Complications of thyroid problems

If you have a thyroid problem that is not treated properly, serious health problems can result.

An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroid) can lead to a number of problems such as:

  • eye problems, such as bulging eyes, blurred or double vision or even vision loss
  • heart problems, such as rapid heart rate, problems with heart rhythm or heart failure - these problems can usually be treated
  • brittle bones (osteoporosis)
  • red, swollen skin - occurring particularly on the shins and feet
  • thyrotoxic crisis, which is a worsening of symptoms causing fever, rapid heart rate and delirium - this requires urgent medical attention.

An underactive thyroid (hypothyroid) can cause a range of complications, including:

  • an enlarged thyroid, or goitre, which may cause problems with swallowing and breathing
  • high cholesterol and associated heart disease
  • nerve damage causing tingling, numbness and pain in the arms, legs or other affected areas
  • infertility
  • birth defects
  • miscarriage or premature birth
  • mental health issues such as depression
  • myxedema, which is a rare, life-threatening condition involving intense cold intolerance, lethargy and drowsiness that can lead to unconsciousness - myxedema requires urgent medical attention.

Sources:

Hormone Health Network (Detecting and treating hypothyroidism before, during, and after pregnancy - PDF document), Mayo Clinic (Hyperthyroidism - Complications), Mayo Clinic (Hypothyroidism - Symptoms and causes)

Last reviewed: November 2016

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