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Hypothyroidism is the disease state in humans and in animals caused by insufficient production

of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. Cretinism is a form of hypothyroidism found in infants.


About three percent of the general population is hypothyroidic.[1] Factors such

as iodine deficiency or exposure to Iodine-131 (I-131) can increase that risk. There are a number
of causes for hypothyroidism. Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of hypothyroidism
worldwide. In iodine-replete individuals hypothyroidism is generally caused by Hashimoto's
thyroiditis, or otherwise as a result of either an absent thyroid gland or a deficiency in stimulating
hormones from the hypothalamus or pituitary.

Hypothyroidism can result from postpartum thyroiditis, a condition which affects about 5% of all
women within a year of giving birth. The first phase is typically hyperthyroidism; the thyroid
then either returns to normal, or a woman develops hypothyroidism. Of those women who
experience hypothyroidism associated with postpartum thyroiditis, one in five will develop
permanent hypothyroidism requiring life-long treatment.

Hypothyroidism can also result from sporadic inheritance, sometimes autosomal recessive.

Hypothyroidism is also a relatively common disease in domestic dogs, with some specific breeds
having a definite predisposition.[2]

Temporary hypothyroidism can be due to the Wolff-Chaikoff effect. A very high intake of iodine
can be used to temporarily treat hyperthyroidism, especially in an emergency situation. Although
iodine is substrate for thyroid hormones, high levels prompt the thyroid gland to take in less of
the iodine that is eaten, reducing hormone production.

Hypothyroidism is often classified by the organ of origin:[3][4]

Type Origin Description

The most common forms include Hashimoto's

Primary thyroid gland thyroiditis (an autoimmune disease) and radioiodine therapy
for hyperthyroidism.

Occurs if the pituitary gland does not create enough thyroid stimulating
hormone (TSH) to induce the thyroid gland to produce enough
pituitary gland thyroxine and triiodothyronine. Although not every case of secondary
hypothyroidism has a clear-cut cause, it is usually caused by damage to
the pituitary gland, as by a tumor, radiation, or surgery.[5]
Results when the hypothalamus fails to produce sufficient thyrotropin-
releasing hormone (TRH). TRH prompts the pituitary gland to produce
Tertiary hypothalamus
thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). Hence may also be
termed hypothalamic-pituitary-axis hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland fails to produce enough hormone. The
main function of the thyroid gland is to regulate the body's metabolism; it affects all parts of the
body. Many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism are associated with other illnesses, and are often
overlooked or misdiagnosed by physicians. Hypothyroidism is very common, although many
people are unaware that they have hypothyroidism, and often go untreated for many years. The
most common symptoms of hypothyroidism are:

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which there is too little thyroid hormone in the bloodstream.
The thyroid gland, which produces the thyroid hormones, is said to be "underactive," because it
produces too little thyroid hormone needed for the body to function normally.
nadequate stimulation of cells and organs in the body due to low levels of thyroid hormone
causes the symptoms associated with hypothyroidism, which is generally a "slowing-down" of
the body's processes. These symptoms include slowed heart rate, tiredness, inability to tolerate
cold, mental fatigue, and constipation.
Hypothyroidism is a common condition, and it can be successfully treated. However, because the
symptoms are often subtle, or people believe their symptoms are due to stress, depression, or
"getting older," or may frequently mistake for other conditions, it is not unusual for someone with
hypothyroidism to go undiagnosed, sometimes for many years. Some experts estimate that as
many as 9 million people in the U.S. have undiagnosed hypothyroidism.

hat Is Thyroid Hormone?

Hormones are chemical messengers released into the bloodstream by specialized glands called
endocrine glands. A hormone circulates through the body in the bloodstream, delivering
messages to other parts of the body. The "message" causes effects far from the gland that
produced the hormone.

Thyroid hormone is produced in the thyroid gland, which is located in the front of the neck. It is
released by the thyroid gland into the bloodstream and circulates throughout the body. Almost
every cell in the body, from those in the brain to those in the feet, responds to the hormone.

There are two different forms of thyroid hormone present in the bloodstream. The two forms of
thyroid hormone differ in the number of iodine units or atoms attached to the hormone. Iodine is
a very important component of thyroid hormone.

• Thyroid hormone with four iodine units is abbreviated as T4 .

• Thyroid hormone with three iodine units is abbreviated as T3 .
• Most thyroid hormone in the blood is T4.
• T3 is the form that is active in the body, not T4.
• Certain cells in the body convert T4 to T3.
What Does Thyroid Hormone Do?

Cells respond to thyroid hormone with an increase in metabolic activity. Metabolic activity, or
metabolism, is a term used to describe the processes in the body that produce energy and the
chemical substances necessary for cells to grow, divide to form new cells, and perform other vital

If you think of each cell in the body as a motor car, then thyroid hormone acts as if you were
tapping on the accelerator pedal. Its message is "go."

Because thyroid hormone stimulates cells, it causes major body functions to "go" a bit faster.

• Heart rate increases.

• Breathing rate increases.
• Use of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates rises.
• Skeletal muscles work more efficiently.
• Muscle tone in the digestive system, such as those in the walls of the intestines that help
to move food through the digestive system increases.
• Mental alertness and thinking skills are sharpened.