Common complications of thyroid disorders

Common complications of thyroid disorders

Lack of or ineffective treatment of thyroid disorders can lead to the following potential complications:

Hyperthyroidism complications

  • Heart problems (atrial fibrillation, rapid heart rate or congestive heart failure),
  • Osteoporosis
  • Graves' ophthalmopathy (bulging, red and swollen eyes and vision problems)
  • Graves' dermopathy (red and swollen skin)
  • Thyrotoxic crisis (sudden intensification of symptoms which can be life-threatening).

Hypothyroidism complications

  • Large goitres (thyroid enlargements)
  • Depression
  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Problems with ovulation (leading to fertility issues)
  • Birth defects (intellectual and physical developmental problems)
  • Damage to the peripheral nerves (information carriers between the brain, spinal cord and the remainder of the body)
  • Enlarged heart
  • Heart failure
  • Myxedema (a rare, but potentially life-threatening condition) 

Large goitres or thyroid nodules complications

  • Breathing and swallowing difficulties
  • Cough
  • Hoarseness
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Sleeping problems (including insomnia)
  • Issues with mood (i.e. irritability)
  • Thyroid cancer (malignancy)
  • Risk is increased for the development of an overactive or underactive thyroid as well (if symptoms of either are not yet present).
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