What is hypothyroidism, and what are the symptoms to watch for?

2 answers | Last updated: Mar 29, 2014
Mill valley dad asked...

What is hypothyroidism, and what are the symptoms to watch for?

Expert Answers

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

Hypothyroidism is an endocrine disorder in which your thyroid gland is underactive. This is a problem because your thyroid gland is responsible for producing other hormones that help regulate some of your body's functions. Hypothyroidism is easily diagnosed with a routine blood test. It is also easily treated by using thyroid hormone medication.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include lack of energy, sensitivity to cold, depression, weight gain, muscle aches and weakness, dry skin, heavy menstual periods, and constipation. Depending on the degree of hypothyroidism you have, these symptoms can be quite severe.

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

For me there were two other symptoms: my fingernails which are normally long and very strong, began to split and break, and my hair became limp and dull. I am on synthroid now and do have to take it regularly. My blood tests show that it is helping a great deal. Then I feel good and "forget" to take the morning pill until my lack of energy pulls me up short. Susan