font size

Hypothyroidism (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

What is hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is a condition characterized by abnormally low thyroid hormone production. There are many disorders that result in hypothyroidism. These disorders may directly or indirectly involve the thyroid gland. Because thyroid hormone affects growth, development, and many cellular processes, inadequate thyroid hormone has widespread consequences for the body.

This article will focus specifically on hypothyroidism in adults.

What are thyroid hormones?

Thyroid hormones are produced by the thyroid gland. This gland is located in the lower part of the neck, below the Adam's apple. The gland wraps around the windpipe (trachea) and has a shape that is similar to a butterfly - formed by two wings (lobes) and attached by a middle part (isthmus).

The thyroid gland uses iodine (mostly available from the diet in foods such as seafood, bread, and salt) to produce thyroid hormones. The two most important thyroid hormones are thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which account for 99% and 1% of thyroid hormones present in the blood respectively. However, the hormone with the most biological activity is T3. Once released from the thyroid gland into the blood, a large amount of T4 is converted into T3 - the active hormone that affects the metabolism of cells.

Thyroid Gland illustration - Hypothyroidism
Thyroid Gland illustration - Hypothyroidism
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/9/2013

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Hypothyroidism - Symptoms Question: For hypothyroidism, what were the symptoms and signs you experienced?
Hypothyroidism - Treatments Question: What has been the treatment for your hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism - Diet Question: How does your diet affect your hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism - Personal Experience Question: Did you suspect you might have hypothyroidism? Please share your story.
Hypothyroidism - Diagnosis Question: What tests and exams led to a diagnosis of hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism - Causes Question: If known, what is the cause of hypothyroidism in you or a relative?
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/hypothyroidism/article.htm

Women's Health

Find out what women really need.

advertisement
advertisement
Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations

NIH talks about Ebola on WebMD