Doctor's Notes on Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone, which affects the body’s metabolic processes. Low thyroid hormone levels decrease metabolism, and increase the risk of other health issues such as heart disease and pregnancy problems. Common causes of hypothyroidism in adults include autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto's thyroiditis), subacute thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid gland after a viral disease or after a pregnancy), previous thyroid therapy, drug-induced hypothyroidism, pituitary and hypothalamic disease, and iodine deficiency.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, weakness, cold intolerance, muscle aches and cramps, constipation, weight gain or difficulty losing weight, poor appetite, goiter (enlarged thyroid gland), dry and rough skin, coarse hair or hair loss, eye and face swelling, deeper and/or hoarse voice, enlarged tongue, irregular or heavy menstrual periods, depression, memory loss, slowed thinking and mental activity, or increased blood cholesterol levels.
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Thyroid ProblemsDiseases of the thyroid gland can lead to hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyroid nodules, thyroid goiters, or thyroid cancer. Symptoms of both hypo- and hyperthyroidism-related conditions include constipation, fatigue, weight gain, cold or heat intolerance, to coma. Treatment depends upon the thyroid condition.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.