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Symptoms

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This page describes the symptoms of Graves’ disease (autoimmune hyperthyroidism) as well as Hypothyroidism (which may result from treatment), Thyroid Eye Disease (aka Graves Ophthalmopathy) and Pretibial Myxedema. This symptom list differs from other lists which you may find on the internet as this list is intentionally more comprehensive and was developed by a group of fellow Graves’ patients.

Hyperthyroid Symptoms

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  • Bladder problems – increased urination or polyuria
  • Blotchy itchy patches of skin without rash – Pretibial myxedema, hives
  • Brisk reflexes
  • Bruit
  • Decreased sleep requirement
  • Depression
  • Diaphoresis
  • Difficulty breathing, rapid shallow breathing, shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
  • Emotional disturbances, emotional lability
  • Eye changes, proptosis
  • Fatigue
  • Fine, warm, moist skin
  • Goiter
  • Graying hair, premature graying
  • Hair and nail changes, increased growth
  • Hair loss
  • Headaches
  • Heartburn
  • Heat intolerance
  • High systolic blood pressure
  • Hyper brain, trouble concentrating or comprehending
  • Hyperdefecation – up to 10 bowel movements a day, steatorrhea (increased stool fat due to malabsorption)
  • Hyperhidrosis (increased sweating)
  • Hyper immune system and less of a susceptibility to other diseases, (except for other autoimmune diseases)
  • Hyperpigmentation of skin
  • Inappropriate feelings of rage
  • Increased heart rate, palpitations
  • Increased perspiration
  • Increased digestive motility
  • Infertility, impaired fertility
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased bone resporption, bone loss
  • Increased drug metabolism
  • Increased perspiration
  • Insomnia, sleep disturbances
  • Interrupted sleep
  • Irritabilty
  • Irritable leg syndrome due to nutrient deficiencies – patient may describe ‘bouncy legs’.
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Loss of curl in hair
  • Low cholesterol level which rises with treatment
  • Lowered stamina, weakness
  • Mania and hypomania
  • Menstrual cycle changes (Amenorrhea, Oligomenorrhea)
  • Mood swings
  • Muscle weakness and fatigue
  • Nail margins uneven, nails split, nails weak, cracking
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Nervousness
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Oligomenorrhea (scanty menstrual cycle)
  • Onycholysis (separation of nail from it’s bed)
  • Overactive libido is more common in hyper, change in libido
  • Pain or irritation of eyes
  • Palpitations or pounding of heart
  • Panic
  • Periodic paralysis (rarely)
  • Plummer’s nails
  • Pretibial myxedema
  • Prominence of eyes, lid lag, globe lag
  • Restlessness
  • Swelling of outer surface of shin (pretibial myxedema)
  • Tachycardia
  • Thinning of hair (overall shedding)
  • Thrill
  • Tiredness
  • Tremors, increased movement (hyperkinesis)
  • Tremors of hands, lips, tongue
  • Vitiligo (patchy loss of pigmentation in skin – is also an autoimmune disease)
  • Weakness in muscles of shoulder girdle and large muscles of the thighs
  • Weight loss or gain (rapid) (10% of people are reported to have weight gain, usually younger people)

Hypothyroid Symptoms (may be due to overmedication with ATD’s or the result of RAI or thyroidectomy)

  • Abdominal pain and distention
  • Anemia
  • Anxiety
  • Atrial fibrillation (cardiac arrhythmia)
  • Aversion to cold (cold intolerance)
  • Bradycardia (slow heart rate/pulse)
  • Brain Function problems which include (confusion, disorientation, mental fog, memory loss)
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Constipation – the more hypo we become, the more severe this becomes
  • Decreased body temperature
  • Depression which worsens if patient moves into myxedema coma
  • Dry coarse skin and hair
  • Edema
  • Emotional lability (unable to control one’s emotions)
  • Enlarged muscle fibers with muscle weakness (Hoffman’s syndrome)
  • Eyebrows (outer 1/3 of eyebrows either lose hair, stop growing or have limited growth)
  • Fatigue (can be extreme)
  • Feeling of being overwhelmed
  • Headache
  • Hearing loss, deafness
  • Heavy menses (menorrhagia) & cramping
  • High cholesterol and lipid levels
  • Hoarse voice
  • Impaired blood clotting
  • Impaired digestion
  • Impaired skeletal growth
  • Increased capillary fragility (bruising)
  • Increased creatine phosphokinase (CPK) level
  • Increased diastolic blood pressure
  • Increased fertility problems
  • Increased menstrual cycle
  • Insomnia
  • Interrupted sleep
  • Irregular heart rate (bradycardia or atrial fibrillation)
  • Joint pain
  • Lack of motivation
  • Loss of initiative
  • Menorrhagia (heavy menstrual period)
  • Muscle pain
  • Myxedema (waterlogged appearance of skin) puffy eyes, face, hands, feet
  • Nails changes, nails split, break, get thickened
  • Nasal stuffiness, dry throat
  • Nocturnal paresthesia (hands or legs falling asleep)
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Palpitations
  • Panic
  • Polymenorrhea (occurrence of menstrual cycles at frequency that is higher than normal)
  • Severe hair loss (overall shedding or breakage)
  • Severe weight gain even when not eating much
  • Sinus problems and or infections
  • Sleep apnea
  • Sleepiness, lethargy, insomnia, interupted sleep
  • Slow speech (can be slurred at times)
  • Thickened, dry tongue (dry mouth)

Thyroid Eye Disease Symptoms (Graves Opthalmopathy)

  • Bad night vision
  • Blurring of vision
  • Bulging eyes (exophthalmos)
  • Chemosis (edema/swelling of the mucous membrane of the eyeball and eyelid lining)
  • Corneal abrasion
  • Deteriorating vision (see a qualified Ophthalmologist immediately)
  • Double vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Eye grittiness (feeling of sand in the eye)
  • Eye strain
  • Extraocular muscle weakness
  • Exophthalmos (protrussion of the eyeball from the socket – bulging eyes)
  • Globe lag
  • Headache
  • Inability to close eyelids completely to sleep
  • Inflammation of eye tissues
  • Lid lag
  • Malabsorption of vitamin A resulting in orange tinted palms
  • Painful eyes
  • Prominence of eyes
  • Proptosis (forward displacement of the eyeball)
  • Puffiness of tissues around the eye – often worse in the mornings
  • Red eyes
  • Restricted eye muscle movement
  • Sensitive to light, even indoors
  • Staring appearance to eyes or startled look
  • Swelling of tissues surrounding the eyes
  • Tearing (excessive watering of the eyes or eye)
  • Ulceration of the cornea

Pretibial Myxedema Symptoms (PTM)

  • Localized thickening of the skin, usually on the lower leg above the ankle but may occur anywhere
  • Itching of the affected area
  • Affected area may be shiny pink to reddish or purple/brown in color
  • Non-pitting plaques on the affected area
  • Hair follicles are sometimes prominent, giving an orange peel texture
  • Elephantitis (in severe form)


Last updated on February 1, 2010
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