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Due to the similarity of its symptoms to other conditions, many thyroid disorders are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Hypothyroidism (where the thyroid reduces thyroid hormone production) involves the slowdown of the whole metabolism and is the most common form of thyroid disorder. Symptoms include increased weight, fatigue, depression, intolerance to cold, constipation, joint pain, muscle pain, brittle fingernails, brittle hair, pale skin, facial swelling, ankle swelling, foot swelling, leg swelling, muscle pain, muscle spasms, muscle atrophy, joint stiffness, drowsiness and missed menstruation. If the condition is untreated, symptoms may be reduced sense of taste, reduced sense of smell, hoarseness, bloated face, bloated hands, bloated feet, thickening flaky skin, dry flaky skin and slowed rate of speech. Sufferers may have all or only some of these symptoms. Untreated hypothyroidism may also lead to cardiac problems. Treatment usually involves lifetime thyroid hormone replacement medication such as Synthroid or Levoxyl. Up to 15% of people in the US are believed to be prone to hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism (excess thyroid hormone production) or Grave's disease increases the metabolism. Symptoms include nervousness, restlessness, fatigue, heat intolerance, increased sweating, weight loss, thinning hair, brittle nails, frequent bowel movements, menstrual irregularities or absence, bulging eyeballs, sleeping difficulties, nausea, vomiting, itching, hand tremors and high blood pressure. Undiagnosed and untreated hyperthyroidism can increase the risk of osteoporosis, cardiac problems and eye problems. Serious cases require the thyroid to be destroyed by radioactive iodine and they then take a lifetime thyroid hormone medication. The lifetime risk of developing a thyroid disorder in women is 1 in 8 and 1 in 4,000 babies develop the condition (American Medical Women's Association.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by Kansas City Nursing News
About: Thyroid disorder underdiagnosed and misdiagnosed
Date: 28 December 2004
Source: Kansas City Nursing News
Author: Lisa Waterman Gray
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