The Effects of Hypothyroidism on Vertigo

By Vanessa Newman

Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) can occur at any age, but older adults are more affected by it. Approximately 10 million Americans have it, according to Endocrine Web. After age 65, 10 percent of women and 6 percent of men get it, according to Merck. It can potentially be the cause of, or contribute to, vertigo.

Low angle view of a young woman leaning over a railing holding her head

Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) can occur at any age, but older adults are more affected by it. Approximately 10 million Americans have it, according to Endocrine Web. After age 65, 10 percent of women and 6 percent of men get it, according to Merck. It can potentially be the cause of, or contribute to, vertigo.

Hypothyroidism

Fatigue.

Hypothyroidism is when the body has a deficiency in hormones produced by the thyroid gland. It is the result of an autoimmune disease (such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis) or can be caused by iodine therapy or thyroid removal. Symptoms include unexplained coldness, forgetfulness, constipation, weight gain and fatigue.

Vertigo

A woman with a neck injury.

Vertigo is a feeling of movement when motion is not happening. It can occur all the time or only when the body is in certain positions. Some of the causes include migraines, brain trauma, stress, central nervous system problems, multiple sclerosis, dehydration, cardiovascular disease and neck injuries. The Neurology Channel claims that thyroid disorders can cause vertigo. The Merck Manual of Health & Aging also says that dizziness is associated with an underactive thyroid.

Hypothyroidism and Hearing Loss

Hearing loss.

Hypothyroidism is also associated with loss of hearing, according to eHealthMD. The loss of hearing may cause vertigo sensations. About 3 percent of those with Meniere's syndrome (a collection of symptoms including vertigo) also have hypothyroidism, according to The Merck Manual of Health & Aging. With treatment, both can be improved.

Hypothyroidism's Effect on Vertigo

Experiencing vertigo.

While hypothyroidism can cause sensations of dizziness or vertigo, it may also contribute to conditions like hearing loss or elevated triglycerides, which can be associated with vertigo too. Hypothyroidism can not only cause vertigo, but can worsen the symptoms of vertigo.

Hypothyroidism Diagnosis and Treatment

Doctor testing for hypothyroidism.

Doctors typically perform a blood test to determine hypothyroidism. In those with the condition, blood tests will reveal that T4 (the main thyroid hormone) is low and TSH (a thyroid stimulating hormone) is high in an attempt to compensate for low T4. To correct the imbalance, doctors usually prescribe hormone replacement medication. Those who are diagnosed with severe hypothyroidism may need to be hospitalized until their condition improves.

References

About the Author

Based in Colorado Springs, Vanessa Newman writes for "Women's Edition" magazine and has been published in "Rocky Mountain Sports," "IDEA" magazine and "The Teaching Professor." She has been writing professionally for over 10 years and holds a master's degree in sports medicine. She has written online courses for companies such as Anheuser-Busch and Chevron, but prefers creative writing.

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