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Hypothyroidism Overview

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormones affect the metabolic processes of the body. Hypothyroidism can be caused by conditions of the thyroid as well as other disease which may indirectly affect the thyroid. Women are affected by hypothyroidism more than men, especially as they age. The incidence of hypothyroidism increases significantly in the elderly. Low thyroid hormone levels decrease metabolism (how energy is used), and increase the risk of other health issues such as heart disease and problems of pregnancy.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/5/2014
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Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Thyroid Disease

Note: We recommend you use this page as a reference for your consultation with your doctor.

1. Are my symptoms consistent with thyroid disease?

2. Could my symptoms be the result of anything else?

3. What investigations do I need to have performed to make a diagnosis?

4. How safe are these investigative tests and procedures?

5. What exactly is a thyroid biopsy, and how is it performed?

6. If I do have thyroid disease, how do we treat it?

7. If I need medications, what are the potential side effects?

8. If I need medication, is there any special way I should be taking it?

9. Do we need to monitor blood levels for thyroid function? If so, how often?

10. Is there a possibility my thyroid disease will require surgery?

eMedicineHealth Reminder: Establishing an accurate diagnosis is key to proper treatments. You are the most important person in this process by accurately describing to your doctor the character, location, duration, and time of onset of your symptoms. You should also inform your doctor about vitamins, herbs, and medications you are taking.

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Hypothyroidism »

Hypothyroidism is a common endocrine disorder resulting from deficiency of thyroid hormone.

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