When the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones, it may lead to hypothyroidism. This condition can lead to a number of different complications, which may affect the nervous system, the reproductive system, or other parts of the body.

Individuals with hypothyroidism may experience symptoms like fatigue, depression, or weight gain. With proper treatment, these symptoms may decrease or disappear completely.

However, in some cases, hypothyroidism can lead to more serious complications. For example, if not treated, this condition could increase the risk of pregnancy loss. It could also cause heart problems that may affect blood pressure or heart rhythm.

This article will take a deeper look at hypothyroidism complications. It explains what complications may occur, how to prevent them, and more.

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Individuals with hypothyroidism may experience renal complications, or those affecting the kidneys. These may occur due to structural changes to the kidney in people with hypothyroidism. In other cases, they may occur because of decreased kidney function.

A 2020 study looked at the link between hypothyroidism and kidney function among adults ages 55 and older. This study found that individuals with hypothyroidism were at higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease.

In rare cases, hypothyroidism can also cause injury to the kidneys. While this complication is not common, it can occur in severe cases of hypothyroidism.

Learn about hypothyroidism.

The human nervous system consists of the nerves, brain, and spinal cord. This system is important for sending messages from the brain to other areas of the body.

Some individuals with hypothyroidism may experience complications that affect this system. These complications may include:

  • cognitive impairments
  • difficulties with visual processing
  • speech alterations
  • memory lapses
  • reduced motor function

Research has also shown that hypothyroidism may contribute to mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. It may also increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease or other neurological conditions.

Certain individuals with hypothyroidism may also develop nerve damage in the brain. However, this is a rare complication.

Hypothyroidism can also have a negative effect on fertility. This thyroid condition could cause irregular menstruation. This can make it difficult to conceive.

These fertility complications may develop as a result of hormonal changes caused by hypothyroidism. Thyroid hormones are important for supporting ovarian function. The loss of these hormones may lead to fertility complications.

According to 2020 research, up to 60% of women with hypothyroidism experience menstrual abnormalities. However, studies on the fertility complications of this condition remain limited. To learn more about fertility and hypothyroidism, consult with a healthcare professional.

Learn about fertility drugs.

People with hypothyroidism may have a higher risk of cardiovascular complications. These complications may include:

Thyroid hormones are important for supporting heart health. In hypothyroidism, the thyroid does not produce enough of these hormones. This may be the reason behind cardiovascular complications.

Hypothyroidism during pregnancy can cause a range of complications. A few of the most common pregnancy complications include:

Hypothyroidism may also affect cognition in developing infants. Studies have shown that this thyroid condition increases the risk of cognitive-neurological disorders.

Treatments for hypothyroidism can help manage symptoms of this condition. They may also help prevent certain complications.

In most cases, healthcare professionals prescribe hormone replacement for treating hypothyroidism. The most common hormone replacement medication is levothyroxine. This medication helps replenish thyroid hormones.

Levothyroxine treatment may help manage hypothyroidism symptoms. Managing these symptoms can help prevent more serious complications.

However, this medication may not be suitable for everyone. To learn more about this and other treatments, speak with a healthcare professional.

The following are answers to some questions people frequently ask about hypothyroidism.

What are the serious symptoms of hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism can cause mild symptoms like tiredness or muscle aches. But it can also cause more serious symptoms. These may include:

This condition can also increase cholesterol levels. Speak with a healthcare professional for more information about these and other symptoms.

What is the result of severe untreated hypothyroidism?

Severe untreated hypothyroidism can lead to myxedema coma. This rare condition affects multiple organs. It can lead to heart failure or arrhythmias. It can also cause slow breathing and other symptoms. Myxedema coma can be fatal in some instances.

In hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland does not make enough hormones. This can lead to a range of complications.

Some individuals with severe hypothyroidism may develop kidney or heart problems. They may also experience nervous system complications. Hypothyroidism can also have a negative effect on fertility and pregnancy.

Taking proactive steps to manage symptoms can help prevent serious complications. For more information, speak with a healthcare professional.