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Hypothyroid Symptoms

The Thyroid Gland

The dry puffy skin, rough voice, cold hands and feet, sluggish reflexes and movements, chronic pain, low basal temperature, scanty hair or gray hair in the 20s, marked dental problems, digestive disorders, recurrent infections, bouts of depression, and positive family history for thyroid related illnesses makes the diagnosis of hypothyroidism obvious.

Myxedema

In 1878, Dr. William Ord performed an autopsy on a middle-aged woman who succumbed to hypothyroidism. Upon cutting into her skin, he saw tissues that were thickened and boggy. The tissues appeared to be waterlogged, but no water seeped from his incisions. Dr. Ord realized this disease was unique and previously unrecognized.

Dr. Ord summoned a leading chemist named Halleburton to help identify the substance causing the swelling. What they found was an abnormally large accumulation of mucin. Mucin is a normal constituent of our tissues. It is a jelly-like material that spontaneously accumulates in hypothyroidism. Mucin grabs onto water and causes swelling. Dr. Halleburton found 50 times the normal amount of mucin in the woman’s skin. Her other tissues also contained excess mucin.

The doctors coined the term myxedema. Myx is the Greek word for mucin and edema means swelling. Myxedema was adopted as the medical term for hypothyroidism.

The edema or swelling associated with hypothyroidism usually begins around the face, particularly above or below the eyes and along the jaw line. However, the skin on the side of the upper arms may be thickened early in the course of the disease. The swelling associated with hypothyroidism is firm and will eventually spread throughout our body’s connective tissues.

One of the many functions of connective tissue is to help hold our bodies’ organs and structures together. Connective tissue lines our blood vessels, nervous system, muscles, mucous membranes, the gut, as well as each and every cell in our glands and organs. Abnormal accumulation of mucin in these tissues causes swelling and significantly impairs normal function.

This type of swelling is unique to hypothyroidism. Medical textbooks about hypothyroidism state that myxedema is thyroprival (pertaining to or characterized by hypothyroidism) and pathognomonic (specifically distinctive and diagnostic). Translation: if the thickened skin of myxedema is present, you have hypothyroidism. Normal skin is relatively thin, and you may easily lift it with your thumb and index finger. If you look, you’ll find a number of people whose skin is almost impossible to lift. This is due to the marked swelling and glue-like infiltration of mucin in the skin and underlying tissues that result from hypothyroidism. Women’s skin usually has slightly more subcutaneous fat than men. Hence, their skin tends to be thicker. There are many different degrees of myxedema.

Unfortunately, even if your skin is of normal thickness, you may still have hypothyroidism. It is only one of many signs of this condition. This diagnostic clinical finding has been forgotten, usurped by the almighty thyroid blood tests. Mucin is a normal constituent of our tissues, and its accumulation is often increased with hypothyroidism. However, the accumulation of mucin may only affect the internal organs and tissues and spare the skin. You may have hypothyroidism despite having normal skin.

Today’s doctors are not taught to examine for thickened skin or other physical manifestations of the illness. Sophisticated thyroid blood tests are purported to be the sole means for making the diagnosis of hypothyroidism. These tests have replaced the patients’ medical histories, complaints, and physical findings upon which the diagnosis was largely based for over half a century before the advent of blood tests.

During the first half of the twentieth century, prior to complete reliance on blood tests to diagnose hypothyroidism, elevated cholesterol was considered one of the hallmarks of hypothyroidism. In 1934, Dr. Hurxthal found cholesterol levels were very closely related to basal metabolic rate. However, since then, research showed there were many hypothyroid people, both young and old, with normal or lower than normal cholesterol levels.

An extremely prevalent symptom of hypothyroidism is a lowering of body temperature. The low temperature is a direct reflection of decreased metabolism. In a 1915 medical journal article, the author, Dr. Eugene Hertoghe, stated, “Hypothermia is an almost invariable accompaniment of even the slighter forms of thyroid insufficiency. Such patients, the younger ones more particularly, complain of chilliness of the hands and feet; they never feel warn, even in bed.” Dr. Ord, the doctor who named the illness in 1877, stated, “The temperature of the body is generally  below normal, 97 or 96 degrees Fahrenheit being a common record; and the patients are extremely sensitive to cold.” Hypothyroidism is not the only problem that may lower the patients’ temperature, but it is definitely the most common.

Eugene Hertoghe MD began his work in the late nineteenth century and devoted much of his energy to the study of hypothyroidism. Dr. Hertoghe was the first doctor to recognize the prevalence of mild forms of the illness. Drs Hertoghe and Hermann Zondek described numerous symptoms and physical characteristics of hypothyroidism, many of which have vanished from today’s textbooks.

The signs observed more or less regularly are:

General indolence and inertia, lassitude, constipation, anorexia, tendency to fat deposits especially around the hips and above the mons veneris (pubic bone), deep depression of the root of the nose, delayed dentition and caries (tooth decay), chilly sensation, dry skin, swelling and pallor (paleness), of the mucous membranes, enlarged tongue, rheumatoid pains, sometimes in the joints, oppressive feelings and convulsive pains in the cardiac region. Skeletal changes are common, particularly scoliosis and general contraction of the pelvis. Chronic deforming changes in the joints are observed.

Sleep apnea is also listed in medical texts among the symptoms resulting from hypothyroidism. In medical textbooks, iron deficiency anemia and vitamin B12 deficiency are associated with hypothyroidism.

Dr. Barnes

One of the twentieth century’s most prolific researchers with regard to hypothyroidism was Broda O. Barnes MD, Ph.D. The majority of his life was devoted to treating patients and doing clinical and scientific research with regard to thyroid-related illnesses. Dr. Barnes was the first doctor to back up his report with hard evidence consisting of 70,000 autopsy studies and long-term patient outcome studies. Yet, the medical community continues to minimize the importance of these reports.

Several of Dr. Barnes patients appeared to have overactive thyroid function or hyperthyroidism. These patients exhibited symptoms such as tremor, rapid heart rates, anxiety, and elevated BMRs. Prior doctors had already made the diagnosis of hyperthyroidism in several of these patients. Dr. Barnes examined these patients and measured their basal temperatures. Despite having elevated basal metabolic rates and symptoms consistent with hyperthyroidism, he found their temperatures to be low. His diagnosis of hypothyroidism, the exact opposite of the other doctors, was confirmed when the patients’ symptoms resolved after treatment with thyroid hormones.

Administration of thyroid hormones is not supposed to decrease the basal metabolic rate. In fact, it is supposed to do just the opposite. This occurs because the nervous tension and excess adrenal output are eliminated. People find their constant foot tapping, chronic teeth clenching, and inability to relax are beyond their control. After supplying desiccated thyroid, those problems become distant memories.

Many people tend to be overweight, sluggish, have slow heart rates, and low basal metabolic rates. A minority of those with hypothyroidism may be underweight, have rapid heart rates, and suffer tremors, anxiety, and increased basal metabolic rates. The latter may be due to the nervous tension that often results from inadequate thyroid stimulus.

It’s like they are running on watered-down gasoline. They are constantly trying to compensate for their inadequate energy supplies by running in overdrive and are unable to relax. In an attempt to compensate for low thyroid function, the body may produce excess adrenaline (the fight-or-flight hormone) and other adrenal hormones as a response to stress. This nervous tension may cause tremor, anxiety, and falsely elevated basal metabolic rates. However, these symptoms are commonly attributed to hyperthyroidism.

Dr. Barnes stated that even after 35 years of practicing medicine, he occasionally could not differentiate between hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism without using the thermometer.

Hypothyroidism is much more easily treated in young, relatively healthy patients, before the disease if firmly established and has wrought all of its mental and physical infirmities. However, proper treatment of Type-1 and Type-2 hypothyroidism can produce dramatic results no matter what the patient’s age. Modern medicine has enabled several generations to survive and pass on deleterious genes.

Infants and Children

Susceptibility to infection has always been one of the cardinal signs of hypothyroidism. The upper respiratory tract, particularly the ears, sinuses, throat, and lungs is a common target. The urinary tract also is a frequent target. Resistance against viral diseases and fungal infections such as yeast is low among the hypothyroid.

Any organ system may be involved. Every cell between and including the hair on the head and the toenails (both of which are frequently affected) depends upon proper thyroid function for development and health. Thin and/or dry hair are possible symptoms. Redheads have a particularly high incidence of hypothyroidism. Healthy toenails have pink nail beds and are hard. Many children have cold, flat feet, pale nail beds, or ridged, striated, and soft nails. Two reasons for this are that circulation and the synthesis of new proteins are impaired.

Dr. Zondek emphasized disturbances of growth, anomalies in genital development, and signs of mental disturbance as “the factors whose development is chiefly governed by the thyroid gland.”

Growth Disturbances

Thyroid hormones are a powerful stimulus for growth and development of bones. Textbooks are replete with literature about hypothyroidism resulting in short stature. The fact that accelerated growth and tall stature is also characteristic of the illness is less well known.

Hypothyroid mothers often have very tall daughters with narrow hips (contraction of the pelvis). People over six feet tall consistently run slightly lower than normal basal temperatures and suffer varying degrees of hypothyroidism. On the one hand, a marked deficiency occurring at an early age may lead to growth failure and dwarfism, a minor deficiency not only may allow growth to proceed at a normal rate, but to be accelerated and extended, producing a seven footer.

The average size of Americans has literally ballooned in the last 30 years. The average men’s shoe size has gone from a size 9 in the 1970s to an 11 today. Our average height increased several inches during the twentieth century and obesity is pervasive. The opposite may also occur. Small stature or short segments in the upper or lower limbs are common anomalies. The arms or legs may appear too short or small for the torso.

A number of people report birth defects of their joints that required bracing and other corrections in their infancy. The hips and lower extremities are usually involved. The anterior fontanel (soft spot) is the largest and slowest to fuse. Normally, it hardens around the middle of the second year. The posterior fontanel normally closes around three months after birth. Hypothyroidism may result in the bones being slow to fuse or join together.

Today, many young children suffer flat feet. The lax ligaments that often result from hypothyroidism may not allow the arches to form properly. Normal arch formation proceeds after children are properly treated with thyroid hormones.

Genital Development

Sexual development may be prematurely arrested or precocious puberty may result. Precocity is defined as unusually early development of mental or physical traits.

Blacks and other minorities, such as American Indians, are particularly affected with Type-2 hypothyroidism. A recent medical survey of eight year-old children reported 50% of African-American and 15% of whites are now showing signs of puberty. This is indicative of a high incidence of hypothyroidism and reveals why blacks have higher rates of asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, etc.

If proper treatment with desiccated thyroid is given, the pubic hair and secondary sexual characteristics such as breast development disappear. Puberty begins again at age 12 or 13 and progresses normally.

The incidence of genital deformities are on the rise. The number of males born with hypospadias, where the urethra through which we pass urine opens on the underside of the penis, has climbed markedly in recent years.

Neurological and Mental Problems

Normal function of maternal thyroid is critical for proper brain development of the fetus. Iodine is also crucial. Children born to hypothyroid mothers have a higher incidence of visual and spatial processing problems, lowered IQs, and impaired development of many other critical neurological functions.

With endemic cretinism (infants born with hypothyroidism), the intellect is disturbed in many, but by no means all, patients; the highest degree of idiocy may occur. Very close relations seem to exist between cretinism and deaf-mutism. Very likely both conditions are but different degrees of one disease arising from the same degenerative basis.

Most people with hypothyroidism, including children and adults, tend to be sluggish. Many children have an abundance of nervous energy or may even be hyperactive. In a study from the National Institutes of Health published in 1995, attention-deficit disorder (ADHD) was present in 72% of males and 43% of females who were identified with a genetically inherited form of hypothyroidism.

Medications affecting the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) often have the opposite effect upon children than they have on adults. Stimulants such as amphetamines are used to treat hyperactive children with attention deficits. Their hyperactivity and short attention spans frequently improve. These same drugs will make adults more active with shorter attention spans.

The short attention span and hyperactivity many children suffer may be due to their low metabolism and fatigue. If symptoms of hypothyroidism and low basal temperature are present, a trial of thyroid hormones is indicated. Thyroid hormone treatment to increase metabolism is a much more physiological and efficacious method than elevating metabolism with amphetamines.

In the preschool child, the history and the basal temperature must be used to make the diagnosis. Most of these children with low thyroid function will have a dull, apathetic appearance and be less active than normal youngsters; yet, here a paradox appears. A few will be nervous, hyperactive and unusually aggressive; emotional problems are frequent. They may cry for no apparent reason and object strenuously to any restrictions. Temper tantrums are common, probably related to undue fatigue. Such youngsters may sleep longer than others and be slow starters in the morning. Their attention span is short; they flit from one activity to another, without becoming engrossed in anything. They adjust poorly to family routines. Frequent infections anywhere in the body are almost pathognomonic (diagnostic) of hypothyroidism. Nightmares, as well as other mental aberrations in children, are often resolved with thyroid treatment.

Doctors of environmental medicine are churning out reams of successful case reports regarding the treatment of hyperactivity. Children with Type-2 hypothyroidism are much more susceptible to environmental toxins and often suffer from a plethora of allergies and chemical sensitivities.

Childhood depression is rampant and, as previously mentioned, a cardinal sign of hypothyroidism. Manic depression (bipolar disorder) now has its peak onset in the late teens. One generation ago, the peak was in the early 30s. It is occasionally diagnosed in children who demonstrate extreme rage, among other symptoms. Both maladies run in families, as does hypothyroidism.

The gray matter of our brain’s frontal cortex continues to thicken and grow throughout childhood. Its size peaks at about the time of puberty. It appears the brain has some capacity for regeneration and development throughout our lives. The gray matter of the frontal cortex is involved in judgment, organization, planning, initiating attention, and shifting or stopping attention. The frontal cortex is the command center of the brain.

In 2006, 2.5 million children in America were prescribed antipsychotic medication. Obviously, the earlier the treatment for hypothyroidism begins, the better the chances are for normal cognitive development and psychological well-being.

Other Symptoms

Premature births resulting in small babies, or just the opposite, long gestations resulting in large babies, similar to those frequently born to diabetics, may occur. Even with normal gestations, many of the hypothyroid females have babies in excess of nine pounds prior to beginning thyroid hormones. Babies born with developmental defects are also suspect.

Jaundice may appear shortly after birth because of an immature liver. Nasal congestion, noisy breathing, or the tendency to be quiet or sleep more than other babies, are signs. A short neck, large head, and a puffy face are possible physical features of the illness. A deep furrowed nose (usually an indentation or in others, a broad flat area where the noose joins to the face between the eyes) is a developmental abnormality attributable to hypothyroidism.

Faulty growth of the sphenoid bone (a cranial bone) is the cause of the characteristic depression of the root of the nose. This gives the face its typical cretinoid appearance. Deep-set eyes frequently accompany the furrowed nose. In some cases where myxedma is severe, the face can appear broader than normal and rarely change expression. The expressionless face in severely hypothyroid patients is called “the mask-like face.”

Skin problems are abundant. Dry skin (especially on the elbows and knees), eczema, psoriasis, or infections involving the skin or scalp are clues. The skin may be pale and the extremities are usually cool to the touch. The palms and soles of the feet are occasionally yellowed.

Respiration may be noisy due to swollen nasal passages. Babies may breathe entirely through their mouths and appear to have a constant cold.

Eyesight and hearing problems are common. Cataracts were formerly the province of the aged. They, too, may be associated with hypothyroidism and often occur in premature babies. Very close associations exist between cretinism and deaf-mutism, since a high incidence of goiter coincides regionally with that of deaf-mutism. Abnormalities in the shape of the outer ear (pinna) are common.

Not infrequently, a child’s jaw or teeth are unable to develop normally. The crowding together of teeth has been associated by anthropologists with the modernization of civilization. You’ll also see the opposite, large gaps between the teeth in a few people. Both are associated with hypothyroidism. Irritated gums, enlarged gums, gums projecting between the teeth, multiple cavities, and delayed dental development are red flags. Occasionally, problems with delayed dental development or cavities may be the first sign of hypothyroidism in an otherwise healthy child. The teeth and jaw begin normal development after desiccated thyroid is administered.

Constipation or other problems with the digestive tract are among the most common symptoms. There is a slowness of digestion as well as scant secretions in the intestines of hypothyroid children. These may lead to development of false membranes and then grow into bands causing kinks and other consequences. A protuberant abdomen is another physical feature often present in hypothyroid infants, including cretins.

As a child develops, bed-wetting, poor coordination, and swallowing problems may develop. Morning fatigue, difficulty awakening, or sleepwalking are possible.

All parents should read Dr. Barnes’ book on hypothyroidism for their children’s sake, if not their own.  The rectal temperatures are 0.8 to 1.0° F higher than axillary temperature, i.e., 98.6° F is the absolute minimum for normal rectal test with a thermometer. Axillary temperature is within one-tenth of a degree of the oral temperature.

The telltale symptoms of hypothyroidism may not be apparent for decades. Unfortunately, as the epidemic worsens, the symptoms are occurring in younger age groups and are more severe.

Adolescents

Puberty, pregnancy, and menopause place increased demands upon thyroid hormone functions. A child may seem to be relatively well until puberty when a number of behavioral and physical problems will suddenly appear. Again, disturbances of growth, problems involving sexual development, and mental disturbances are paramount features of hypothyroidism.

Growth Disturbances

Laxity of the ligaments that help support our bones as well as muscular imbalances result from hypothyroidism. The end-result may be hyper-flexibility, scoliosis, stooped posture, knock-kneed legs, chronic pain and a tendency to sprain or strain which may frequently linger. The kneecaps may spontaneously dislocate. The ligaments at the internal aspect of the knee-joints are those most frequently affected, with the result that a certain amount of knock-knee becomes apparent. These are symptoms of weak adrenal glands.

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis occurs in 2% to 3% of our children by age 16. It is the most common form of scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine. Idiopathic means doctors and scientists do not know the cause of an illness.

Scoliosis is two to three times more common among adolescent girls than among adolescent boys. The onset of the illness is usually during puberty. The vast majority of those affected, suffer many other symptoms of hypothyroidism and run low basal temperatures.

Hypothyroidism may cause growth plates at the ends of our long bones to close prematurely or remain open longer than normal. This may result in very short or very tall stature depending upon genetic factors and the severity of an individual’s hypothyroidism.

Sexual Development

The sex organs may develop normally but are often smaller than normal. The development of the genital system is disturbed in most cases. Both the internal and external genital organs are hypoplastic (underdeveloped), and so are the mammae (breasts). In exceptional cases, however, genital development exceeding the normal limits is sometimes found.

General contraction of the pelvis is another prominent physical feature. Many women have small pelvic bones and narrow hips. This condition often portends problems with childbirth. Hypothyroidism may cause premature or delayed puberty. The majority of normal and hypothyroid females begin their cycles at ages 12 or 13. However, a growing number of those with hypothyroidism start their cycle years earlier or begin their periods at age 15 or later. Premature or delayed puberty in males is also becoming more common.

Problems associated with the menstrual cycle are now commonplace. The majority of the teenagers suffer problems such as PMS, severe cramping, and irregular or heavy cycles. Severe hypothyroidism may cause the menses to cease. Females with menstrual problems resolve after treatment with desiccated thyroid (iodine supplementation is also crucial).

Mentation

Hypothyroidism may not cause any mental disturbance. The mental changes may be mild or only become evident at a much later age. However, statistics show mental problems are beginning earlier and increasing in severity. Suicide is now the third leading cause of death among 10 to 24 year-old Americans.

There is a long list of mental problems linked to hypothyroidism. Many of these mental infirmities are no longer linked to hypothyroidism in the newer literature. Nervousness and irritability are common as are apathy and listlessness. Problems with memory or problems performing tasks, which were done previously without effort, are additional signs.

Many other serious conditions are possible. Delusions, hallucinations (both auditory and visual), and frank insanity are just a sample. In spite of pronounced signs of the condition, many people retain their memory, judgment, and other mental faculties intact. But with progress of the disease these, too, are impaired. Not uncommonly, the emotions become unbalanced, occasionally genuine psychosis develops. The person may then become depressed or, more rarely, maniacal and have outbreaks of passion, rage, and even fury. Various forms of distressing obsessions have been recorded as well.

In hypothyroid people, there is a propensity toward alcohol and substance abuse. Early researchers noted that alcoholic beverages diminish hypothyroid symptoms. Dr. Barnes stated that he never treated an alcoholic patient who was not hypothyroid.

Alcoholic drinks tend to induce low blood sugar (glucose) in normal individuals. Hypothyroid individuals are usually even more sensitive to the deleterious effects of alcohol. Dr. Barnes felt that much of the carnage on our nation’s highways, as well as a good deal of criminal behavior, was due in part to our growing hypothyroid population’s tendency toward hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Hypoglycemia is greatly exacerbated by alcohol. The brain is dependent upon a constant supply of glucose, a form of sugar. Aberrant behavior, hallucinations, and passing out are just a few of the symptoms that may result from a shortage of glucose to the brain. Hypoglycemia is only one of the many possible symptoms of hypothyroidism. Hypoglycemia resolves after proper treatment with thyroid hormones.

Tobacco use may also be associated with hypothyroidism. Nicotine momentarily helps the chronic fatigue associated with hypothyroidism. People are much better able to stop smoking when their hypothyroidism and fatigue resolve.

Adult Hypothyroidism

Untreated hypothyroidism worsens with age. Mild symptoms gradually worsen with the passing of time. Many people state that they have been cold, constipated, or suffer dry skin for as long as they can remember. Occasionally, there may be a sudden change for the worse such as in autoimmune thyroiditis, also known as Hashimoto’s Disease. This is thought to cause the majority of the adult Type-1 hypothyroidism as recognized by mainstream medicine. Hashimoto’s also tends to run in families. But the immune system and the endocrine glands are adversely affected by Type-2 hypothyroidism.

Symptoms are frequently exacerbated by cold weather. Cold places an increased demand upon thyroid function, due to the additional energy required to heat our bodies. Remember that the thyroid hormones are responsible for our energy production. Four prime examples of the hypothyroid state are seasonal depression (winter time); asthma which is much worse in cold weather; dry itchy skin (often termed winter itch); and more frequent infections such as colds, sinus infections, and pneumonia.

The most common complaints associated with a possible diagnosis of hypothyroidism are chronic pain, depression, fatigue, loss of energy, cold intolerance, constipation, and dry puffy skin (myxedema). Many people are unaware of their hypothyroid symptoms. The symptoms have been present for years, and they assume they are normal constituents of aging, or that is just the way they are. A person may exhibit one symptom of hypothyroidism and yet require treatment.

In more advanced cases, it may be difficult to lift the skin in order to pinch at all. The tissues are adherent or stuck to the underlying structures because of the infiltration of the glue-like substance, mucin.

The Face

The appearance of one’s face is often markedly affected. Swelling above the eyes and less often, below the eyes may occur. The eyelids, upper and lower, may be thickened or take on an oblique direction. In some cases, individuals must tilt their heads back in order to keep the eyes open. The face appears puffy due in large part to the deposition of myxedema along the jaw line. The lips may be pale or swollen and the nostrils broadened.

In Caucasians, the skin of the face is often pale. However, a pink flush may be present over the cheeks, which ends at the lower margins of the eyes. The mobility of the features, particularly of the mouth may be limited. The ends of the lips may turn downward as if pouting. The ears may be swollen and stand out. The hair gradually loses its natural gloss, becomes brittle, and progressively thins, almost to the point of baldness. Many variations of these changes in milder forms are common. A large percentage of affected patients do not exhibit external puffiness.

The Skin

Hypothyroidism decreases circulation. Our bodies shunt blood away from the skin and toward the brain and vital internal organs as circulation is diminished. In advanced cases of hypothyroidism, the skin may receive only 20% of its normal blood supply. Increased susceptibility to skin infection is a hallmark of hypothyroidism. Boils and acne are common.

With thyroid treatment, Dr. Barnes cured 90% of his patients who suffered all degrees of acne. Other skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis, impetigo, alopecia (hair loss), and cellulitis (subcutaneous tissue infections) are common with the disease. The whole skin is thickened, infiltrated, cold, and easily attacked.

As the epidemic worsens, these conditions become more common. A tendency to develop allergies is also associated with hypothyroidism. As the disease progresses, parchment-like fine wrinkles appear, one of the many characteristics of premature aging caused by hypothyroidism. The wrinkles are most evident on the face and hands.

Hypothyroidism frequently causes “fat pads” above the collarbones (clavicles). Severely affected people may take on a yellowish or amber tint to their skin. This is due to the inability to convert beta-carotene into vitamin A by the liver. The liver becomes congested and more dysfunctional as the severity of hypothyroidism increases.

The absence of, or diminished, perspiration was first described in the 1888 report and remains a common feature of hypothyroidism. Excessive perspiration is less frequent.

Dry skin on the hands, feet, and lower legs, just above the ankles, are the first places to look for dry skin. Elbows and knees are frequently affected. Vitiligo, a usually progressive, chronic pigmentation anomaly of the skin, manifested by depigmented white patches, is another possible symptom.

Skin cancer is now epidemic. People who were previously diagnosed with skin cancer have subnormal temperatures as well as other symptomatology of hypothyroidism. The impairment of the immune system from hypothyroidism, environmental toxins, and decreased circulation (up to 80%) to the skin contributes mightily.

Melanomas are by far the deadliest form of skin cancer. People who have a large number of moles are at increased risk. In the original 1888 report, abundant moles and warty growths on the skin were noted physical findings associated with hypothyroidism. Moles are often developed, especially on the trunk. Moles tend to be hereditary affectations.

The persistent dogma continues to blame sunburns for the explosion of melanomas. However, unlike most skin cancers, melanomas often occur in areas that receive little sun such as the palms, soles of the feet, toes, vulva, vagina, esophagus, anus, or inside the mouth. The principal underlying problem appears to be Type-2 hypothyroidism and iodine deficiencies.

The Hair

Premature baldness and diffuse hair loss are symptoms Forty percent of American women are suffering significant hair loss by the age of 40. Fine, thin, straight, dry hair often results from mild hypothyroidism. Coarse hair may be a manifestation of more severe cases.

In advanced hypothyroidism, the person loses hair from the front of the head as well as the back (the nape of the neck). Individuals may end up with a strip of hair across the middle of their heads. Another important physical finding closely associated with hypothyroidism is the thinning or loss of the outside third of the eyebrows. In some, the eyebrows are absent. Modern medical textbooks refer to the loss of the outer eyebrow as Queen Anne’s sign. This sign was first noted by Dr. Eugene Hertoghe and was mentioned in a 1914 lecture and 1915 journal article. Endocrinologists in the know refer to this sign as the Sign of Hertoghe.

Many people gradually lose the hair from their lower legs, arms, and armpits in varying degrees. However, a number of hypothyroid sufferers have an abundance of healthy hair, especially the younger ones.

The Nails

The big toenail often is affected first. Healthy nails are translucent, clear, shiny, firm, and smooth. The nail beds are pink when blood circulation is adequate. Hypothyroidism gradually leaves the nails pale or yellowish, brittle, ridged, striated, and thickened. They peel or break easily. The nails may be soft due to associated iron deficiency.

The Eyes

Healthy eyes are bright, clear, and shiny. Red, irritated, dry eyes are suspect. Visual disturbances and night vision problems are frequent. People with hypothyroidism are unable to convert beta-carotene into vitamin A, which is necessary for vision, especially at night.

Glaucoma and cataracts may result. Blepharitis, conjunctivitis, and other infections involving the eyes become more common with age as do other symptoms of hypothyroidism. The eyelashes are also shed, leaving the eyelids unprotected against the erosive action of the tears.

Neurological problems such as macular degeneration, spasm of the eyelids (blepharospasm), or drooping of the eyelid are much more likely to occur. The eyelids often become swollen. People may struggle to hold their eyes open or tilt their head backward in order to see. Their eyelids may acquire an oblique direction, such as seen in Mongolian tribes.

The Ears and Hearing

Type-2 hypothyroidism can result in the ears being located lower than normal on our head. Occasionally, they almost appear to be originating from the upper neck. In advanced cases, the ears may be swollen and stand out with marked prominence. The ear canal may be dry, scaly, and may itch. Excess formation of earwax is often reduced to normal levels after treatment of hypothyroidism.

Recurrent infections may begin at an early age or may begin much later. Ear infections may contribute to hearing loss. Deafness or other hearing deficits may be attributable to low thyroid function.

Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) is another common and prominently listed symptom of hypothyroidism.

The Teeth, Gums, and TMJ Syndrome

Diminished immunity against infection, impaired ability to repair damaged tissues, poor circulation, and other factors associated with hypothyroidism all contribute to poor oral health. Many people’s teeth literally rot one by one, occasionally in rapid succession. The vast majority of these adults all suffer the usual constellation of hypothyroid symptoms.

The gums are often swollen, spongy and bleeding, and occasionally receding. These symptoms of periodontal disease have been linked to heart attacks. Overdeveloped gums, which project downward between the teeth, are telltale signs. These polypoid projections of the gums are cited in the early literature.

High-resolution, thin slice MRI shows that almost all women have demonstrable degenerative changes (arthritic) in both of their temporomandibular joints by the age of 30. The high prevalence of arthritic changes in women’s temporomandibular joints by age 30 may be another indication of the epidemic of Type-2 hypothyroidism.

TMJ and teeth clenching often gradually resolve following treatment with desiccated thyroid. The addition of estrogen for postmenopausal women may be necessary for relief. Normal development and function of the jaw, teeth, and muscles are promoted by proper treatment of hypothyroidism in the young.

The Speech, Tongue, and Swallowing

Hoarseness is a frequent symptom. The vocal cords become swollen and infiltrated with mucin. The speech is altered in so uniform a way that a diagnosis may almost be made when a person, unseen, is heard talking. The words come very slowly and deliberately, the voice is monotonous and of a leathery timbre, no doubt much determined by the swelling of the throat, and is evidently produced with considerable effort owing to the swelling of the lips. This can be recognized if the person is watched as he speaks, the words seeming to be squeezed out of the lips with much difficulty.

Speech problems abound. Difficulties with pronunciation or pattern such as slow, halting speech are often a result of hypothyroidism. High pitched or nasal voices may have been much different had thyroid hormones been given during the maturation process.

The tongue may be abnormally large. The side of your tongue may be scalloped due to pressure from the teeth, small jaw, and myxedema. In severe cases, the swollen tongue tends to fall backward and obstruct breathing. This can cause to sleep apnea.

Problems swallowing are not infrequent. A combination of swelling of the esophagus and impaired function of the associated nerves may be a minor bother or may wreak havoc. More commonly, it is the aged who are most affected. Problems swallowing pills slowly resolve after beginning desiccated thyroid hormones.

Mental and Neurological Symptoms

A network of supporting structures, including blood vessels and nutrient supplying cells, surround our nerves. These structures, which provide oxygen and essential nutrients, become progressively infiltrated with mucin. The function and health of the nerves suffer. Headaches are common.

A very gradual decline in a person’s energy, often followed by listlessness may be the first indication of a problem. Declines in the ability to concentrate as well as fatigue are also frequent scenarios. Memory loss was first documented in the report of 1888.

One of the first signs of dementia is short-term memory loss. Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, as well as mental illnesses frequently run in families, as does hypothyroidism. Half of Americans 85 years or older are suffering from Alzheimer’s, which is tragically beginning to strike at younger and younger ages. Tension and irritability are closely associated with the hypothyroid state. Nervous tension is due to overcompensation by the adrenal glands in an effort to increase the body’s metabolism.

Sufferers from myxedema have all their symptoms aggravated and suffer from great weakness and depression when exposed to cold. Depression, genuine psychosis of manic or depressive character, with outbreaks of rage or fury, can manifest when the disease is advanced. Insanity is also common in the forms of dementia, melancholia (depression), and acute or chronic mania and bipolar disorder. Agoraphobia is frequently present. Neuroses of all types, personality disorders, and other severe mental illnesses are well represented in the population. Hallucinations of smell, and less often, sight and hearing, delusions of persecution, and clouding of consciousness can be seen. People sometimes report being irritated by an electric current or constant humming in the ears, or tortured by bad smells.

Many hypothyroid patients suffer paresthesias such as tingling, burning, or formications (a tactile sensation similar to small insects crawling on skin). Carpal tunnel syndrome has been closely associated with hypothyroidism. The tendency to fall is mentioned repeatedly in the historical literature. Modern textbooks, regarding hypothyroidism, continue to mention the neurologic and psychiatric effects of the disease, however, in the vast majority, the possible link between their psychiatric or neurological problems with hypothyroidism is completely ignored.

Dizziness and Vertigo have been repeatedly associated with hypothyroidism in medical texts since the Clinical Society of London’s 1888 report. This is usually related to fatigued adrenal glands that are trying to cover for the weak thyroid gland.

The Heart

The first symptom of hypothyroidism a person may notice could be a heart attack. People and their doctors do not recognize other subtle warning signs such as dry skin or fatigue. Instead, they attribute symptoms to age, or at least they commonly fail to make the connection with hypothyroidism. The rate of heart attacks decreased by 90% in Dr. Barnes’ treatment study relative to equivalent people in the Framingham Study.

The tissues and organs most readily affected by cellular energy declines (in order of impact) are the central nervous system, followed, in descending order of sensitivity, by the heart and skeletal muscle, the kidneys, and hormone-producing tissues.

The heart muscle is profoundly affected in hypothyroidism. The muscle is infiltrated with mucin, becomes weak, and unable to pump blood efficiently. The heart can increase in size; some people with this condition can have a heart the size of a volleyball. The medical term for this condition is congestive heart failure or CHF. The heart begins to “fail” as the cardiac output drops. Over five million Americans currently suffer from CHF. Fifty percent of patients die within five years of their initial diagnosis. People often experience resolution of CHF, with normalization of the heart size, the arteries clean out and the heart pumps blood normally after years of proper treatment with desiccated thyroid.

Pulse rate and stroke volume are diminished in hypothyroidism, and cardiac output is accordingly decreased, often to one-half the normal value. The term myxedema was introduced in 1918. It embraced dilation of the left and right sides of the heart, slow, indolent heart action with normal blood pressure, and lowering of the P and T waves of the electrocardiogram.

When thyroid hormone is given, the heart grows smaller almost week by week. Diminution of the heart’s size is seen after 15-20 mg thyroxine (T4) has been given in the course of three to four weeks. Ultimately the heart may return to its normal size.

Peripheral vascular disease results from decades of untreated hypothyroidism.

The heart’s electrical system (nerves) also suffers. This weakness is often reflected in the electrocardiogram (EKG, or ECG). The EKG is a measure of the electrical voltages of the heart ‘s conduction system. The resultant low voltage emitted by a weakened heart is almost diagnostic of hypothyroidism.

Conduction difficulties arise from mucin infiltration in the heart muscle and mucin accumulation around its intricate set of nerves. Palpitations, increased or decreased heart rate, premature ventricular contractions (PVCs), atrial fibrillation, and other conduction problems are common.

Most people who persevere and finally receive adequate dosages of desiccated thyroid see their heartbeats normalize.

Pericardial effusions (watery effusions accumulating around the heart) can occur because of increased vascular permeability. Angina (suffocating chest pain) is rare in properly treated individuals.

The Lungs

Pneumonia is a red flag for low immune function. The rise in emphysema and lung cancer, which coincided with a drastic reduction of deaths from infection, has already been noted. These problems are due in large part to the chronic respiratory and sinus infections so prevalent among hypothyroid persons.

Decreased pulmonary function often results from hypothyroidism. Difficulty breathing and air hunger may become pronounced as the condition worsens. Hypothyroidism increases one’s susceptibility to developing asthma.

Environmental illnesses and triggers are usually the immediate cause of the attacks. However, asthma sufferers almost invariably have low basal temperatures, are susceptible to infection, and have family histories consistent with hypothyroidism. Women are twice as likely as men to suffer asthma. Their asthma is often more severe and more likely to result in death. Minorities and women suffer higher rates of asthma and hypothyroidism.

High Blood Pressure, Anemia, Circulation, and Kidneys

 A diminution of blood flow to one or both kidneys elevates blood pressure. The lower the blood flow, the higher the elevation in blood pressure. Dr. Barnes believed that decreased blood flow to the kidneys due to hypothyroidism was the underlying cause of most high blood pressure. Eighty percent of the people entering his study group with a prior diagnosis of high blood pressure had their pressures normalize with thyroid therapy alone. He believed that the decreased blood flow, due to narrowing of the kidneys’ arteries by atherosclerosis (prior to beginning thyroid hormone), was probably the reason why the high blood pressures persisted in the people who failed to respond.

The progression of atherosclerosis can be halted by correcting hypothyroidism. Many people require one or two years of treatment with desiccated thyroid before their pressures fall. Some people normalize within several months.

Anemia and iron deficiency are common among the population of hypothyroid people. Bone marrow is where most of the red blood cells are manufactured. When body temperature is low, the marrow becomes too cool. Red blood cell production may drop precipitously in the affected marrow.

Peripheral circulation to the extremities (especially the skin, hands, and feet) may decline by 40% or more as a result of hypothyroidism. The decline in the body’s circulation is one of the most important factors leading to the myriad associated illnesses.

Iron and vitamin B12 deficiencies may also result from hypothyroidism. There was an absence of chronic anemia among Dr. Barnes’ treatment group.

Decreased output of urine from the kidneys is another frequent finding in hypothyroidism. Contracting granular kidney is an outdated medical expression that describes a shrunken, scarred kidney, which reflects the final stage of kidney failure. Decreased circulation that results from hypothyroidism doesn’t allow the kidneys or each and every one of our cells to properly dispose of waste products. The health of the kidneys and person suffer.

The kidney is one of the favorite targets of dysfunctional mitochondria. No cases of chronic kidney failure developed in Dr. Barnes’ thyroid-treated group.

The Liver

The liver frequently functions poorly in hypothyroid persons. There is considerable congestion of the liver, the hepatic (liver) cells secrete badly, while the canaliculi (tubular canals running between liver cells) are compressed. More than occasionally, results of blood tests in hypothyroid persons show mild elevation of the liver’s enzymes. This elevation is indicative of compromised function. These enzyme levels return to normal after treatment unless the person suffers from a separate disease such as hepatitis.

Excess cholesterol is converted into bile salts in the liver. The bile salts are then eliminated. As hypothyroidism progresses and liver function worsens, many people’s cholesterol levels rise. Serum cholesterol values were at one time a standard blood test for thyroid function. An elevated cholesterol indicated hypothyroid function.

Prediabetic is now a frequent diagnosis. These people store glucose more slowly in their livers and may spill glucose into their urine on a glucose tolerance test. Their glucose metabolism normalizes when put on a course of thyroid hormones.

It is the liver where carotene is converted into vitamin A. As hypothyroidism and liver function worsen, people may develop a yellowish tint to the skin due to excessive carotene build-up. The skin color normalizes with thyroid treatment, unless other liver problems are also present.

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is a frequent problem associated with hypothyroidism. Hypoglycemia means low (hypo) blood sugar (glycemia). The most common symptoms include headaches, shakiness, sweating, anxiety, panic attacks, rapid heartbeat, fatigue, and weakness.

The liver is responsible for maintaining a constant supply of glucose (sugar) in our bloodstream. The overwhelming majority of hypoglycemia is due to hypothyroidism and the resultant sluggish liver function. In people with hypoglycemia, a more precipitous and prolonged drop in blood sugar occurs. Mild or more serious symptoms such as bizarre or violent behavior and loss of consciousness are possible. Symptoms resolve within seconds after intravenous glucose is administered. Brain damage or even death is possible without proper medical supervision. Symptoms resolve after proper treatment with thyroid hormones.

Many people with more severe hypothyroidism and hypoglycemia often require treatment for mild adrenal and iodine deficiencies in addition to hypothyroidism. Sometimes, half the normal dosage of insulin (0.05 units per kg) is used for people with adrenal deficiency. These people are more prone to severe hypoglycemia and more sensitive to insulin.

Teaching doctors to better recognize and treat hypothyroidism would eliminate the need for a tremendous amount of laboratory testing or other expensive procedures and tests.

The Gall Bladder

“Fat, female, and 40” (years) represents the typical presentation of gallbladder disease and gallstones. This scenario is also a typical presentation of hypothyroidism. Many hypothyroid people’s histories include gallbladder disease. There is generally a feeble nature of the linings or endothelial tissues of the gallbladder and urinary bladder associated with hypothyroidism. They are shed prematurely, and such cavities as the gallbladder and also the urinary bladder are unprotected from the irritating action of their contents.

A small but significant percentage of hypothyroid people develop pain that mimics gallbladder disease. The pain occurs around the bottom of the right rib cage in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen. Pain usually finally resolves after treatment for hypothyroidism.

The Bladder

With hypothyroidism, the bladder is constantly being denuded of its epithelial lining and is more than usually sensitive to the irritating action of the urine, and this alone is responsible for many cases of nocturnal enuresis (bed-wetting) in children. Infections associated with the urinary tract, i.e. bladder and kidneys are common in hypothyroidism, especially among women.

A significant percentage of bladder cancer may be due to this chronic irritation, coupled with diminished immunity as we age.

The Digestive Tract and Eating Disorders

Starting with the esophagus and ending in the rectum, digestion slows, and its associated secretions are diminished. Problems associated with swallowing, the esophagus, stomach, intestines, and absorption frequently develop. Reflux of stomach acid and ulcers may result. Cancers of the gut are more likely to occur.

Muscle lines the digestive tract including all 28 feet of our intestines. These muscles, their nerves, and blood supply all suffer in hypothyroid persons. Normal digestion requires a huge blood supply. There are as many nerves in the digestive tract as the spinal cord. The gut’s nervous system even has its own name, the enteric nervous system. It is no wonder we feel so badly when our digestive tract is impaired.

The scanty intestinal secretion along with the muscular weakness of the visceral walls causes obstinate constipation, which in turn, leads to fermentation with the formation of an abnormal quantity of gas, thus producing meteorism (gas in the stomach and intestines) and abdominal distention with noisy eructations from the stomach.

Constipation and excess gas are among the most common illnesses of today. Fecal impaction due to obstinate constipation is not uncommon in the elderly. Constipation usually improves or resolves within several months of proper thyroid therapy.

Internal myxedema or the Escalimma-Lisser Syndrome is a condition where fluid accumulates in the abdominal cavity (ascites), that can manifest in hypothyroidism. This endocrinopathy is generalized, involving the internal organs as well as the external covering and configuration of the body, is not so widely appreciated. Thus, alterations in the skin and hair, together with mental sluggishness, are relatively common findings. Occasionally cardiopathies occur for which no morbific factor other than an insufficient thyroid function can be found.

Inflammatory bowel diseases such as colitis and diverticulosis may also result from hypothyroidism. Poor appetite and eating disorders such as anorexia may occur. People with histories of eating disorders usually suffer from hypothyroidism. In severe thyroid inadequacy, there is loss of appetite, and the aversion for food is unconquerable. Meat is especially distasteful. Paradoxically, the appetite may be greatly increased. Many hypothyroid people’s hunger is never satisfied. Critical areas and supportive structures in the brain become impaired. Basic bodily functions in addition to mental functions are often affected. The appetite may begin to normalize after lengthy treatment.

Menstrual Disorders, Fertility, and Menopause

The thyroid gland was once nicknamed “the third ovary.” The thyroid has a great influence on menstruation, pregnancy, lactation, and even uterine involution after childbirth. Often, women who at ordinary times have a decent supply of thyroid secretion, run short during the menses.

Before the twentieth century, women usually began menstruation at the age of 12 or 13. Their cycles would occur every 26 to 30 days, and menstrual blood flow would last four or five days. Today, the hypothyroid epidemic has turned the natural cycle into a monthly crisis far too frequently. Profuse bleeding, severe cramps, and other premenstrual problems such as irritability and headache are now commonplace. Endometriosis, fibroid tumors, and ovarian cysts have increased in frequency.

All are associated with hypothyroidism. Other hormonal dysfunctions, such as disturbances in estrogen and progesterone, often occur as a result of hypothyroidism and iodine deficiency. The excessive bleeding is caused by the abnormal infiltration and accumulation of mucin in the uterine mucous lining, by the defective contractility of the uterine muscular cells and by the hemophilic condition of the blood.

Menstrual cramps are, in most cases, completely relieved with desiccated thyroid hormones. Similar results can occur when liberal dosages of iodine are given.

One in five American couples reportedly now have problems conceiving. Infertility specialists have declared it a disease unto itself. Miscarriages and fertility problems are a red flag for hypothyroidism. Infertility rates in males are fast approaching those found in females. Sperm banks report a marked drop in the average sperm count of donors during the last 20 years. Impairment of fertility in both men and women because of hypothyroidism is firmly entrenched in medical literature. Whole families disappeared in goiter regions due to impaired fertility. Widespread pollutants and hormone-mimicking synthetic chemicals also may impair thyroid metabolism and fertility.

Yet, modern texts continue to refute hypothyroidism as a major cause of infertility and miscarriages. The main problem is that affected women and men usually have normal thyroid blood tests. Thyroid extract has proved in scores of cases an excellent remedy for otherwise inexplicable sterility.

A 27% rise in premature births has occurred during the last 20 years. Twelve percent of all births are now premature. Premature babies have a substantially increased risk of problems related to the central nervous system (favorite target of hypothyroidism) such as mental retardation, cerebral palsy, and learning disabilities. The number one risk factor for premature births is already having had one. The leading cause is Type-2 hypothyroidism.

The offspring resulting from fertility specialists will likely suffer just as many or even more health problems than their mothers, if not given treatment for their hypothyroidism. During and after a pregnancy, hypothyroidism also causes many problems such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, eclampsia (convulsions and coma associated with pregnancy), prolonged labor, inability to dilate, excessive bleeding, poor wound healing, and the inability of the mother to lose weight afterwards.

Severe post-partum hemorrhages are one sign. Pregnancy may occur after the full establishment of the disease, and, as already noted, hemorrhage is to be dreaded. In connection with pregnancy, fluctuations in the swelling of the body may occur.

Many women develop pain in and around their C-section scar. The trouble lies in their muscles and scar tissue, which have not healed properly due in large part to hypothyroidism.

Severe mental and physical problems associated with menopause are becoming commonplace. The onset or worsening of hypothyroid symptoms often coincides with menopause.  Like its effect on puberty, the onset of menopause may be delayed or occur prematurely in hypothyroid persons.

Symptoms also include decreased libido in both men and women. Erectile dysfunction often results. Men’s testes may become smaller and softer. Women’s genitalia and pelvic organs often suffer severe problems such as atrophy as they age. Pelvic reconstruction surgeries to repair atrophic tissues are common. The breasts are usually much less affected than the pelvic organs.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is characterized by multiple causative factors. Decreased adrenal function and a weak immune system that allows chronic yeast (candida albicans) or viral infections to fester are among commonly accused culprits. Symptoms of CFS in addition to “unexplained” persistent fatigue may include decreased concentration and short-term memory, headaches, muscle and joint pain without swelling and redness, tender lymph nodes, sore throat, unrefreshing sleep, post-exertional malaise lasting 24 hours or more, along with a host of others.

Eighty percent of the CFS persons suffer recurrent ear, nose, and throat infections as children, acne as adolescents, recurrent hives, anxiety attacks, headaches, and bowel problems later, as well as being unable to tolerate alcohol. Ninety percent of these people’s cholesterol levels are above 225. These symptoms closely match those of hypothyroidism.

Treating children’s hypothyroidism substantially reduces the use of antibiotics by bolstering their immune system. Many people with multiple chemical sensitivities meet the CDC guidelines for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Chemically sensitive persons’ weak immune systems are often overwhelmed by numerous airborne and food allergies in addition to environmental toxins. These people usually have personal and family histories consistent with hypothyroidism.

People who suffer from CFS all require thyroid hormone replacement and iodine/iodide. Chronic yeast infections, allergies, mercury and other heavy metal toxins, magnesium and nutritional deficiencies, and dental problems are also common and must be addressed.

Bleeding Problems and Bruising

Severe bleeding problems that occur among the hypothyroid have been documented in every text on the subject since the first comprehensive report was published in 1888. At that time, The Clinical Society of London reported severe hemorrhages that occurred during childbirth. Severe bleeding from the nose, gums, teeth, and bowels was also common among those affected.

Modern textbooks continue to mention the clotting difficulties associated with hypothyroidism. The antihemophilic factor is reduced as well as other factors associated with normal clotting. Hypothyroid people bruise easily prior to treatment. Prolonged oozing of blood from scratches or cuts is common, especially in the elderly. Often they report a history of nosebleeds, bleeding after dental work, surgeries, and childbirth.

Conversely, the tendency to form blood clots is increased. As hypothyroidism worsens, the circulation and the rate of blood flow through our veins slows down. Tiny muscles that line every vein to help pump the blood back to our hearts may also become weak. The nerves supplying each muscle and blood vessel are negatively affected. Hypothyroidism causes damage to the linings of our arteries, the end result being atherosclerosis. This injury causes the arterial linings to have procoagulant properties instead of their natural anticoagulant properties. The injured arteries secrete chemically active compounds that may contribute to blood clots as well as atherosclerosis.

The resultant impedance in blood flow promotes formation of clots in the deep veins. Blood clots are common in large veins following surgeries for arthritis, heart problems, and other illnesses related to hypothyroidism. Increasing numbers of blood clots are occurring in airline passengers after long flights.

The hormones in birth control pills interfere with the proteins that transport thyroid hormones through our blood (thyroid binding globulins). As a result, birth control pills may exacerbate hypothyroidism. Birth control pills are associated with an increased incidence of blood clots and stroke.

Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune illnesses such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are linked to hypothyroidism. Lupus people often suffer kidney and nervous system damage. Lupus is much more common in women, blacks, and American Indians, as is hypothyroidism.

The cleansing of cellular debris and increased activation of enzymes are among the main functions of thyroid hormones. Most of the connective tissue diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, polymyositis, amyloidosis, and lupus, are associated with the deposition of mucin in the connective tissues. Deposition of mucin in connective tissues is the hallmark of hypothyroidism.

In hypothyroidism, the diagnosis is “written all over their face.” The features are broad, puffy, and coarse. The eyelids are always the seat of transparent swelling, and the eyebrows are generally raised in order to help sustain the upper lid. The nostrils are swollen and broadened; the lower lip thickened, everted and livid; the mouth widened transversely. Over the cheeks and nose there is a well-defined red patch, in strong contrast with the pallid, porcelain-like orbital area.

The characteristic “butterfly patch” on the face is typically found in many lupus people. The association of lupus with hypothyroidism was noted in 1888. However, lupus had yet to be recognized as a disease. The kidneys and nervous systems are favorite targets of Type-2 hypothyroidism and lupus.

Mercury used in dental fillings has been shown to cause autoimmunity in a strain of mice. Mercury is a major thyroid inhibitor.

Headaches and Migraines

About 30% of hypothyroid people suffer headaches and migraines. Many doctors specialize in the treatment of headaches, and there are numerous clinics specifically for the treatment of headaches. There are scores of different categories and types of migraines. Wide variations of treatment are recommended.

Many of these people have additional problems such as estrogen and progesterone deficiencies, adrenal dysfunction, chronic Candida (yeast) infections, heavy metal toxicity, chemical sensitivities, or environmental allergies.

Several major muscle groups around the head and neck receive their nerve supply from the same nerves that innervate our senses. These nerves are called the cranial nerves and are responsible for smell, vision, hearing, taste, sensation of the face, and other critical functions. The cranial nerves have a complicated system of interconnections between themselves.

When these muscles and the cranial nerves are infiltrated with mucin, headaches may result. The blood vessels and linings of the nerves that nourish the brain can be infiltrated by mucin, as can the supporting tissues within the brain itself.

Excess fluid retention can often be attributed to the compromised circulation associated with hypothyroidism. Tissues within the skull also swell and migraines result. Bed-rest often allows the excess fluid to be excreted and the migraine to resolve.

The dura mater is the outermost covering of the brain and spinal cord. Interestingly, the ganglion or nerve cell body of the fifth cranial nerve (trigeminal) is located between the two layers of the dura mater below the base of our skull. Among other things, this critical body of nerves transmits data for pain, temperature, and touch from the extensive area of distribution that the nerve supplies. This particular nerve is responsible for the sensation of our skin including the face and forehead, nearly all of the scalp, our oral and nasal cavities, paranasal sinuses, teeth, muscles used in chewing, and contributes sensory fibers to most of the dura mater. Tic douloureux is a pain syndrome involving the trigeminal nerve. It is an extremely painful condition, and its cause is unknown. These people often suffer the typical stigmata of hypothyroidism.

Females who suffer migraines often associate them with their menstrual cycles. Headaches associated with the menstrual cycle are classic symptoms of hypothyroidism. Many sick people with long horror stories of migraines have histories of sinus infections and other stigmata of hypothyroidism. Many have undergone repeated sinus surgeries in vain attempts to resolve their headaches. Of course, there are many other possible causes for headaches, such as infections, metabolic disturbances, tension, and trigger points in the musculature of the head and neck. However, most of these additional causes also may result from hypothyroidism.

Dehyration is a common cause of headaches. This can be a symptom of adrenal depletion that is itself secondary to hypothyroidism.

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