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Excess thyroid hormone or hyperthyroidism causes heart palpitations and hypothyroidism can include symptoms such as tiredness, sluggishness, feeling cold, increase in weight, dry skin, dry hair, hair loss, constipation, menstrual irregularities, loss of concentration, forgetfulness and depression. Many people only exhibit one or two symptoms. These vague set of symptoms make hypothyroidism difficult to diagnose and subject to frequent misdiagnosis. Untreated hypothyroidism can greatly reduce mental and physical performance as well as causing high blood cholesterol and ultimately heart disease. Severe cases can result in a potentially fatal loss of consciousness or myxedema coma. A 45 year old woman took depressants for 10 years after she was diagnosed with depression and weight increase. She suffered from loss of concentration and developed swollen hands which she put down to rheumatoid arthritis. She was eventually diagnosed with hypothyroidism and treatment greatly improved her health and quality of life. In another case, a 62 year old woman was admitted to ICU due to breathing difficulties. She had a puffy face, low voice, slow speech and had gained weight. She had also developed congestive heart failure and her condition was diagnosed as hypothyroidism. Treatment alleviated all of her symptoms and even her heart failure was corrected. A 30 year old woman got no answers from a dermatologist as to why her hair kept falling out. A visit to an endocrinologist led to the diagnosis of hypothyroidism. A 76 year old man suffering from loss of concentration was misdiagnosed with senile dementia for a year before a physician visit for a leg edema led to a correct hypothyroidism diagnosis. Treatment totally corrected his dementia.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by The Japan Times
About: Hypothyroidism frequently misdiagnosed or undiagnosed
Date: 3 February 2005
Source: The Japan Times
Author: Hiroko Izumo
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