Hypothyroidism

Myxedema; Adult hypothyroidism; Underactive thyroid; Goiter - hypothyroidism; Thyroiditis - hypothyroidism; Thyroid hormone - hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone. This condition is often called underactive thyroid.

Endocrine glands

Endocrine glands release hormones (chemical messengers) into the bloodstream to be transported to various organs and tissues throughout the body. For instance, the pancreas secretes insulin, which allows the body to regulate levels of sugar in the blood. The thyroid gets instructions from the pituitary to secrete hormones which determine the pace of chemical activity in the body (the more hormone in the bloodstream, the faster the chemical activity; the less hormone, the slower the activity).

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a decreased activity of the thyroid gland which may affect all body functions. The rate of metabolism slows causing mental and physical sluggishness. The most severe form of hypothyroidism is myxedema, which is a medical emergency.

Brain-thyroid link

Although the thyroid gland releases the hormones which govern growth and metabolism, the brain (the pituitary and the hypothalamus) manages the release and the balance of the amount of hormones circulated.

Primary and secondary hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a decreased activity of the thyroid gland which may affect all body functions. The rate of metabolism slows causing mental and physical sluggishness. The most severe form of hypothyroidism is myxedema, a medical emergency. Hypothyroidism can be caused by a problem with the thyroid itself (primary), or by the malfunction of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus (secondary).

Causes

Symptoms

Exams and Tests

Treatment

Outlook (Prognosis)

Possible Complications

When to Contact a Medical Professional