Hypothyroidism is a thyroid disease brought on by underactive thyroid function, where production of thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) is insufficient. It is estimated that roughly 3% of the general population has this condition. Risk is greater where there is an iodine deficiency or exposure to iodine-131. In patients with healthy levels of iodine, hypothyroidism may be caused by Hashimoto's thyroiditis, by a deficiency of hormones from the hypothalamus or hypophysis (pituitary gland), or by the lack of a thyroid gland.
Hypothyroidism symptoms may vary from person to person and depending upon the patient's case and type of hypothyroidism.
Common early symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
Bradycardia (resting heart rate under 60 beats per minute)
Muscle hypotonia (low or poor tone)
Numbness and tingling
Skin which is dry and itchy
Thin and brittle hair and fingernails
As hypothyroidism progresses, later symptoms may include:
Decreased waking (basal) body temperature
Dysphonia (hoarse voice)
Eyebrow thinning on the outermost third section
Menstrual cycles which are abnormal
Skin which is dry and puffy
Slowed speech (a kind of dysarthria)
Some more rare symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
Impairment of memory and congitive functions
Irritability / mood swings
Osteoporosis or Osteopenia
Psychosis (acute) and anxiety or panic attacks
Several classifications of hypothyroidism include:
Cretinism (pediatric patients)
Ord's thyroiditis (atrophic autoimmune hypothyroidism)
If hypothyroidism is suspected, a diagnosis should be made by a doctor or medical professional. Once a case of hypothyroidism is confirmed, proper treatment may begin.