Are there any complications I should know about?
If it is not treated, hypothyroidism can lead to other health problems. These include:
- Goiter: Hypothyroidism can cause your thyroid to become larger, creating a swollen lump on your neck called a goiter. A goiter can affect your appearance and can even make it hard for you to swallow or eat.
- An increased risk of heart disease: An underactive thyroid causes high levels of “bad” (LDL) cholesterol.
- Mental health issues: Depression that occurs with hypothyroidism can become worse over time, especially if left untreated.
- Myxedema: A rare, life-threatening condition characterized by intense sensitivity to cold, drowsiness followed by severe sluggishness, leading to unconsciousness and even coma.
- Birth defects: Babies born to women who have untreated hypothyroidism may have birth defects.
- Infertility: Low hormone levels can make it difficult for a woman who has hypothyroidism to become pregnant.
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff