What is Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is a disease that occurs when the thyroid is underactive.

Because the thyroid affects every organ, tissue and cell in the body, an underactive thyroid leads to various body functions slowing down.

How It Devoleps

Hypothyroidism develops slowly and symptoms are sometimes overlooked or mistaken for other conditions, like depression or dementia in the elderly.

TSH Blood Test

An official diagnosis is made through a simple blood test called a TSH test. In hypothyroidism, the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) level is high (above the normal range).

What Are the Causes Of Hypothyroidism?

There are many causes of hypothyroidism.

  • Hashomoto's Thyroiditis

    Most cases of hypothyroidism are caused by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This is an autoimmune disease that causes your immune system to damage or destroy the thyroid gland.
  • PostPartum Thyroiditis

    Sometimes after childbirth, women can develop a condition called postpartum thyroiditis (PPT), which is also thought to be an autoimmune disease. PPT may cause hypothyroidism due to depleted thyroid hormone stores. Most cases of this type of hypothyroidism are not permanent, but they still need to be treated.
  • Thyroid Surgery

    Hypothyroidism can also result from radioactive iodine or thyroid surgery where part or all of the thyroid gland is removed. Both are used to treat hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) or thyroid cancer.
  • Iodine Deficiency

    One of the less common causes of hypothyroidism is iodine deficiency, although this is very rare in developed countries where salt is iodized. This is because iodine is a key component of thyroid hormones – if you don’t have enough iodine, your thyroid cannot make enough thyroid hormone.

Hypothyroidism Symptoms

There are many hypothyroidism symptoms. They include:

Hypothyroidism can lead to serious consequences if it is not treated. If you’re concerned about your thyroid, take note of the thyroid symptoms you’re experiencing and discuss them with your doctor.

Subclinical Hypothyroidism

Subclinical hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid has lost some, but not all, function. In subclinical hypothyroidism, blood tests will show a mildly elevated TSH level, with normal levels of the thyroid hormone T4.

Subclinical hypothyroidism may eventually progress to “overt” or complete hypothyroidism. Patients with antibodies targeting their thyroid are at higher risk of progressing to overt hypothyroidism. It is important to note that patients with subclinical hypothyroidism may or may not have symptoms.

Subclinical hypothyroidism is common – especially in women. Between 4 and 8% of the adult population and up to 15% of elderly women are affected by subclinical hypothyroidism.

Where Can I Find Hypothyroidism Treatment or Thyroid Medication?

Not all cases of subclinical hypothyroidism require hypothyroidism treatment. Your doctor can determine if treatment is required or if you need thyroid medication. If you think you are experiencing any symptoms of hypothyroidism, speak to your doctor.

Back to Top