What Happens If Hypothyroidism Goes Untreated?

Our thyroids can be easily overlooked. In fact, many of us are unaware of the gland's function and where it is found. WebMD shares that the tiny, butterfly-shaped gland can be found in our necks. It is responsible for our metabolism's function, hormone and brain function, and many other vital bodily mechanisms.

If your thyroid has changed, you may have hypothyroidism. According to Healthline, hypothyroidism is a fairly common condition affecting up to 10 million people in the U.S. Women are more susceptible to the condition than men. While many are diagnosed with this condition as early as 12 years of age, you can also be diagnosed later in life. Women over 60 are the most likely to experience the symptoms of hypothyroidism before their diagnosis. Although this condition is quite common, many raise a questioning eyebrow when they hear that a close contact is dealing with an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism. Those who haven't had their thyroid checked may not realize their body is giving them signals that something is off.

Your doctor can help you find the right treatment

Healthline notes that symptoms of hypothyroidism include incurable fatigue, thinning hair, feeling cold, weight gain, and a puffy face. Luckily, hypothyroidism can be managed with the help of synthetic hormones and other treatments. If you let your hypothyroidism go untreated, however, you can expect these symptoms to continue and even get worse over a period of time.

A continuously growing goiter in your neck is also a sign of untreated hypothyroidism. A goiter develops when "the brain is hammering the thyroid, trying to get more thyroid hormone out of it," endocrinologist Dr. Tracy S. Tylee explained to Verywell Health. "When that happens, the thyroid gets bigger and bigger as it's trying to make more thyroid hormone," Dr. Tylee continued. She went on to say that an underactive thyroid is linked to both heart and kidney disease. In addition, it could also work as an obstacle when trying to conceive.

If you're feeling any of the symptoms linked to an underactive thyroid, make an appointment with your doctor to check your thyroid levels with a blood test. Luckily, this is a curable condition, meaning your uncomfortable symptoms and health concerns associated with hypothyroidism can be managed with the right treatment.