what is hypothyroidism

What is Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is an endocrine disorder that occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough of the two hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). A gland in the neck produces these hormones, and they control metabolism, which helps the body function properly. When there is a deficiency of these hormones, many systems in the body can be affected.

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Causes of Hypothyroidism

  • Autoimmune disease
  • Radiation exposure
  • Inflammation of the thyroid gland
  • Infections such as viral thyroiditis
  • Medications such as lithium
  • Surgical removal of part or all of the thyroid gland

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Depression
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Hoarseness
  • Muscle aches, weakness and stiffness
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Hair loss
  • Brain fog
  • Irregular menstrual periods


Hypothyroidism is diagnosed with a blood test that measures the levels of thyroid hormones. Other tests, such as a physical examination and imaging tests, may be ordered to look for certain causes of hypothyroidism.


Treatment for hypothyroidism usually involves taking a synthetic form of thyroxine (T4) to replace the hormones the body is not able to produce. Once started, this medication must be taken daily for life. Additional tests and treatment may be necessary in some cases.


Hypothyroidism, thyroid, hormones, autoimmune disease, fatigue, weight gain, depression, medications, blood test, thyroxine, treatment.

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