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Hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid) | NIDDK

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What is hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism, also known as underactive thyroid, is when the thyroid gland doesn’t make plenty of thyroid hormones to fulfill your body’s wants. The thyroid is a compact, butterfly-formed gland in the entrance of your neck. Thyroid hormones regulate the way the overall body employs energy, so they influence virtually every single organ in your overall body, even the way your coronary heart beats. Devoid of plenty of thyroid hormones, many of your body’s functions gradual down.

Illustration of the thyroid and its location in the neck.
The thyroid is a compact gland in your neck that would make thyroid hormones.

How popular is hypothyroidism?

About 4.six per cent of the U.S. population ages 12 and more mature has hypothyroidism, despite the fact that most situations are That’s just about five people today out of a hundred.

Who is much more probably to acquire hypothyroidism?

Girls are much much more probably than adult men to acquire hypothyroidism. The disease is also much more popular amid people today more mature than age

You are much more probably to have hypothyroidism if you

  • have had a thyroid difficulty prior to, this kind of as a goiter
  • have had medical procedures to suitable a thyroid difficulty
  • have obtained radiation cure to the thyroid, neck, or chest
  • have a spouse and children record of thyroid disease
  • had been expecting in the earlier six months
  • have Turner syndrome, a genetic disorder that has an effect on females
  • have other well being complications, including

Is hypothyroidism all through being pregnant a difficulty?

Hypothyroidism that is not taken care of can influence equally the mother and the little one. Nevertheless, thyroid medicines can support protect against complications and are protected to consider all through being pregnant. Discover much more about causes, analysis, and cure of hypothyroidism all through being pregnant.

What other well being complications could I have simply because of hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism can contribute to higher cholesterol, so people today with higher cholesterol really should be analyzed for hypothyroidism. Seldom, intense, untreated hypothyroidism may possibly guide to myxedema coma, an excessive form of hypothyroidism in which the body’s functions gradual to the stage that it gets to be lifestyle threatening. Myxedema coma involves rapid health-related cure.

What are the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism has many signs and symptoms that can range from particular person to particular person. Some popular signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include things like

  • exhaustion
  • fat achieve
  • a puffy face
  • difficulty tolerating cold
  • joint and muscle ache
  • constipation
  • dry skin
  • dry, thinning hair
  • diminished perspiring
  • hefty or irregular menstrual periods
  • fertility complications
  • depression
  • slowed coronary heart rate
  • goiter

Due to the fact hypothyroidism develops bit by bit, many people today really do not notice signs and symptoms of the disease for months or even a long time.

A lot of of these signs and symptoms, especially exhaustion and fat achieve, are popular and really do not often mean that an individual has a thyroid difficulty.

What causes hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism has various causes, including

  • Hashimoto’s disease
  • thyroiditis, or swelling of the thyroid
  • congenital hypothyroidism, or hypothyroidism that is present at birth
  • surgical elimination of aspect or all of the thyroid
  • radiation cure of the thyroid
  • some medicines

Less frequently, hypothyroidism is caused by way too much or way too minimal iodine in the food plan or by pituitary disease.

Hashimoto’s Disorder

Hashimoto’s disease is the most popular lead to of hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder. With this disease, your immune system attacks the thyroid. The thyroid gets to be inflamed and just can’t make plenty of thyroid hormones.


Thyroiditis is swelling of your thyroid that causes stored thyroid hormone to leak out of your thyroid gland. At 1st, the leakage boosts hormone ranges in the blood, leading to hyperthyroidism, a situation in which thyroid hormone ranges are way too higher. The hyperthyroidism may possibly final for up to 3 months, right after which your thyroid may possibly become underactive. The resulting hypothyroidism typically lasts 12 to 18 months, but at times is everlasting.

Many sorts of thyroiditis can lead to hyperthyroidism and then lead to hypothyroidism:

  • Subacute thyroiditis. This situation will involve a painfully inflamed and enlarged thyroid. Specialists are not certain what causes subacute thyroiditis, but it may possibly be similar to an infection caused by a virus or germs.
  • Postpartum thyroiditis. This type of thyroiditis develops right after a girl gives birth.
  • Silent thyroiditis. This type of thyroiditis is known as “silent” simply because it is painless, even while your thyroid may possibly be enlarged. Specialists feel silent thyroiditis is likely an autoimmune situation.

Congenital hypothyroidism

Some babies are born with a thyroid that is not fully designed or does not perform appropriately. If untreated, congenital hypothyroidism can guide to mental incapacity and development failure—when a little one doesn’t increase as anticipated. Early cure can protect against these complications, which is why most newborns in the United States are analyzed for hypothyroidism.

Surgical elimination of aspect or all of the thyroid

When surgeons take out aspect of the thyroid, the remaining aspect may possibly produce usual amounts of thyroid hormone, but some people today who have this medical procedures acquire hypothyroidism. Elimination of the overall thyroid often effects in hypothyroidism.

Surgeons may possibly take out aspect or all of the thyroid as a cure for

  • hyperthyroidism
  • a huge goiter
  • thyroid nodules, which are noncancerous tumors or lumps in the thyroid that can produce way too much thyroid hormone
  • thyroid cancer

Radiation cure of the thyroid

Radioactive iodine, a popular cure for hyperthyroidism, slowly destroys the cells of the thyroid. Most people today who acquire radioactive iodine cure finally acquire hypothyroidism. Doctors treat people today with head or neck cancers with radiation, which can also damage the thyroid.


Some medicines can interfere with thyroid hormone manufacturing and guide to hypothyroidism, including

  • amiodarone, a coronary heart medicine
  • interferon alpha, a cancer medicine
  • lithium, a bipolar disorder medicine
  • interleukin-2, a kidney cancer medicine

How do physicians diagnose hypothyroidism?

Your medical professional will consider a health-related record and do a actual physical exam, but also will need to do some exams to confirm a analysis of hypothyroidism. A lot of signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism are the very same as those of other illnesses, so physicians typically just can’t diagnose hyperthyroidism primarily based on signs and symptoms by itself.

Due to the fact hypothyroidism can lead to fertility complications, ladies who have difficulty finding expecting frequently get analyzed for thyroid complications.

Your medical professional may possibly use various blood exams to confirm a analysis of hypothyroidism and obtain its lead to. Discover much more about thyroid exams and what the effects mean.

How is hypothyroidism taken care of?

Hypothyroidism is taken care of by replacing the hormone that your have thyroid can no for a longer time make. You will consider levothyroxine, a thyroid hormone medicine that is similar to a hormone the thyroid generally would make. Your medical professional may possibly advocate taking the medicine in the early morning prior to having.

Your medical professional will give you a blood take a look at about six to 8 weeks right after you commence taking thyroid hormone and alter your dose if needed. Every single time your dose is altered, you will have yet another blood take a look at. At the time you have attained a dose that is doing the job for you, your well being care provider will likely repeat the blood take a look at in six months and then when a year.

Your hypothyroidism most probably can be wholly controlled with thyroid hormone medicine, as extensive as you consider the suggested dose as instructed. Never ever stop taking your medicine without having talking with your well being care provider 1st.

What really should I consume or prevent having if I have hypothyroidism?

The thyroid employs iodine to make thyroid hormones. Nevertheless, people today with Hashimoto’s disease or other sorts of autoimmune thyroid conditions may possibly be sensitive to dangerous facet effects from iodine. Taking in foodstuff that have huge amounts of iodine—such as kelp, dulse, or other forms of seaweed—may lead to or worsen hypothyroidism. Having iodine dietary supplements can have the very same influence.

Talk with members of your well being care group about what foodstuff you really should restrict or prevent, and let them know if you consider iodine dietary supplements. Also, share facts about any cough syrups that you consider simply because they may possibly incorporate iodine.

Girls need much more iodine when they are expecting simply because the little one will get iodine from the mother’s food plan. If you are expecting, converse with your well being care provider about how much iodine you need.