What are the physical signs of hypothyroidism?

Updated: Mar 03, 2021
  • Author: Philip R Orlander, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
  • Print
Answer

Signs found in hypothyroidism are usually subtle, and their detection requires a careful physical examination. Moreover, such signs are often dismissed as part of aging; however, clinicians should consider a diagnosis of hypothyroidism when they are present.

Physical signs of hypothyroidism include the following:

  • Weight gain

  • Slowed speech and movements

  • Dry skin

  • Jaundice

  • Pallor

  • Coarse, brittle, straw-like hair

  • Loss of scalp hair, axillary hair, pubic hair, or a combination

  • Dull facial expression

  • Coarse facial features

  • Periorbital puffiness

  • Macroglossia

  • Goiter (simple or nodular)

  • Hoarseness

  • Decreased systolic blood pressure and increased diastolic blood pressure

  • Bradycardia

  • Pericardial effusion

  • Abdominal distention, ascites (uncommon)

  • Hypothermia (only in severe hypothyroid states)

  • Nonpitting edema (myxedema)

  • Pitting edema of lower extremities

  • Hyporeflexia with delayed relaxation, ataxia, or both

Additional signs specific to different causes of hypothyroidism, such as diffuse or nodular goiter and pituitary enlargement or tumor, can occur.


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!