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Thyroid problems.

Thyroid problems.
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Complications of thyroid problems

2-minute read

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

An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can lead to a number of problems including:

  • 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 (hypothyroidism) 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 legs, arms 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

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Last reviewed: November 2020


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