Hypothyroid Symptoms

Polly: There are many manifestations of low thyroid. If you are hypothyroid, you may have a few of the following list of symptoms. Don’t expect to have most of them.

dry skin
brittle nails or nails that grow slowly
hair loss or slow hair growth
difficulty with focusing in school
poor athletic ability
sleep disorders
not sweating
sensitivity to cold or sometimes to heat
cold hands and feet
rough gray elbows
edema (water retention)
puffy hard swelling of skin (especially noticeable on face)
loss of memory
loss of concentration
mental confusion
mood swings
poor teeth and gums
weight gain or sometimes weight loss
aching joints (especially in the morning)
high or low blood pressure
bladder problems
high cholesterol
low libido
menstrual disorders
premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
slow Achilles reflex (the muscle takes longer to relax after the tendon is struck)
yellowish cast to skin (especially on palms of hands or around eyes or cheeks)
poor or soft heart tones
visual disturbances
night blindness
carpal tunnel
deep voice or hoarseness
hyperlaxity of joints (hands bend easily, or flat feet)
poor muscle strength (a child may present with a weak grasp or a protruding belly due to poor muscle strength)
low basal temperature (body temperature at rest)
susceptibility to infections like tuberculosis (TB), colds, flu, and bronchitis

There are also a couple of odd characteristics that are sometimes associated with deficient thyroid. These are premature gray hair, missing the outer third of the eyebrow, splayed fingertips, and a pinky finger that is short. (The smallest finger is shorter than the first knuckle of the adjacent finger.) The voltage on an electrocardiogram will be low. Low thyroid is often associated with dysbiosis (harmful intestinal flora), fibromyalgia, diabetes, hypoglycemia, and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, and lupus. Low thyroid can predispose you to cancer and atherosclerosis (heart disease).

Hypothyroid Symptoms in Children

Polly: The manifestations of hypothyroidism in children are a little different than in adults. A lecture by Richard S. Wilkinson, MD, and a lecture by Jaques Hertoghe, MD, (both available from the Barnes Foundation) described some low thyroid symptoms to look for in infants and in very young children. They are:

jaundice at birth
low birth-weight
birth defects
problems with sleep
developmental delays or mental retardation
poor muscle tone or flaccidness (eg trouble holding up head, or sitting up, or protrusion of belly due to poor muscle tone) low body temperature hyperactivity lethargy (fatigue or non-responsiveness)
hyperlaxity of their joints (hands bend easily, or flat feet)
dry skin pale complexion (anemia)
late teething
frequent ear infections
frequent colds, bronchitis or other infections
difficulty with focusing in school
poor athletic ability

Sometimes the problems are not apparent until they are teenagers, where there is the greatest demand for thyroid. Eg, PMS, school problems, mood swings, and drug or alcohol abuse may appear at puberty.

If the hypothyroidism is severe, the bones will not develop properly. The child will look similar to someone with Downs Syndrome. They might have a wide distance between the eyes, deep nose root and middle bone structure, deep eyes, a big skull, and a flat appearance. The neck will be short, the body will look short with a deep bone structure (chest looks big in proportion to the rest of the body). They may also have a thick edematous tongue that protrudes or has teeth indentations. Other possible symptoms are thick lips, missing the outer third of the eyebrows, dry falling hair or hair that grows slowly, and maybe they will develop puffiness under the eyes. Once in a while, you will see a yellow cast to the palms of the hands or around the eyes and cheeks, due to an inability to handle carotene.

Please be careful about the type of thyroid your child receives. According to the Barnes Foundation doctors, very often when you correct hypothyroidism with just T4, you still have many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism. Giving the natural will often clear up the remaining symptoms. Listen to the tape available from the Barnes Foundation on what happened to a developmentally retarded baby when she was switched from T4 to natural thyroid. The tape is “Baby Rachel: Physical Examination of a Hypothyroid Child,” and is available from http://www.BrodaBarnes.org or phone 203-261-210.

What Causes Hypothyroidism?

Polly: The most common causes of hypothyroidism are

1. Liver weakness/stress
2. Estrogens and estrogen-like substances (pesticides and plastics)
3. Polyunsaturated oils
4. Radiation
5. Fluoride
6. Excess or inadequate iodine
7. Mercury poisoning
8. Nutritional deficiencies
9. Central hypothyroidism induced by infection, stress or lack of sleep

Hyperthyroid Symptoms

Polly: If you have too much thyroid hormone, you might have some, but not all of the following symptoms/signs:

heart palpitations
heat intolerance
more frequent bowel movements
light or absent menstrual periods
muscle weakness
fast heart rate
trembling hands
weight loss
hair loss
eyelid lag
staring gaze
increased sweating

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