The thyroid regulates metabolism. When it produces too little of the thyroid hormones, metabolism slows. This condition is called hypothyroidism. People with Down syndrome should have their thyroid checked every year.

Behaviors that may be telling you about hypothyroidism:

  • Fatigue, low energy, needs more sleep
  • Frequent mood changes: too quiet, irritable, anxious, depressed, agitated
  • Difficulty thinking clearly, forgetfulness, poor concentration (may look like Alzheimer's disease in persons with Down syndrome)
  • Feels weak all over, all the time
  • Chills easily
  • Rubs eyes
  • Difficulty walking

Other factors that may indicate the presence of hypothyroidism:

  • Enlarged thyroid (goiter)
  • Hair becomes coarser; loss of hair on outside edge of eyebrows and on body
  • Puffy eyelids, face
  • Difficulty swallowing, sore throat
  • Voice becomes hoarse, husky, slow
  • Abnormal blood pressure (too low or high), slow heart beat, dizziness
  • High cholesterol
  • Anemia
  • Short of breath
  • Muscle and joint aches, especially in hands, feet
  • Changes in menstrual flow, duration; PMS
  • Fertility problems
  • Lower sex drive for men and women; impotence in men
  • Skin is dry, itchy; nails are dry, brittle, yellowish
  • Weight fluctuation (gain or loss), especially gain with no change in diet
  • Sleep apnea, snoring
  • Constipation

Do you think someone's behavior may be telling you about a thyroid disorder? Talk with your doctor or other health care provider. They can work with you to learn whether this is the case.