HYPOTHYROIDISM

Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid disease) is a disease where your thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone. The thyroid gland is located in the front lower part of your neck. Hormones released by the gland travel through your bloodstream which controls your body’s metabolism.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism may be vague and can often mimic other conditions. They may include:

  • Changes in the menstrual cycle
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Dry hair and hair loss
  • Dry skin
  • Fatigue
  • Greater sensitivity to cold
  • Slow heart rate
  • Swelling of the thyroid gland (goiter)
  • Unexplained weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

Babies with hypothyroidism may have no symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they can include:

  • Cold hands and feet
  • Constipation
  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Hoarse cry
  • Little or no growth
  • Low muscle tone (floppy infant)
  • Persistent jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
  • Poor feeding habits
  • Puffy face
  • Stomach bloating
  • Swollen tongue

DIAGNOSIS

Proper history of illness and physical examination is important for diagnosis. Blood tests to check hormone levels can also help with the diagnosis. These may include:

  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)
  • T4 (thyroxine)

If your test results or physical exam of the thyroid are abnormal, your doctor may order a thyroid ultrasound, or thyroid scan, to check for nodules or inflammation.

 

RECOMMENDED MEDICATIONS

Thyroid hormone medicine:

  • Reduces or eliminates symptoms of hypothyroidism. Symptoms usually improve within the first week after you begin therapy. All symptoms usually disappear within a few months.
  • May reduce the risk of slowed physical growth, intellectual disability, and behavioral problems in infants and children.

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