When the immune system attacks the butterfly-shaped gland in the neck (thyroid).

With hypothyroidism, the thyroid is underactive, making the body’s thyroid hormone levels low. The body slows down, patients may feel colder and fatigued, and skin may become drier. Forgetfulness, depression, and constipation will also occur. Primary causes for hypothyroidism include autoimmune diseases, surgical removal of all (or parts) of the thyroid gland, radiation treatment, congenital hypothyroidism, thyroiditis, medicines, imbalances of iodine, pituitary gland damage, or rare disorders that affect the thyroid.

The body is used to a certain amount of thyroid hormone, so the pituitary gland will make TSH (stimulating thyroid hormone) tempt the thyroid to create more hormones. Too much TSH can enlarge the thyroid. If left untreated, the disease will progress. Luckily, it is rare for hypothyroidism to be left unattended, but it can result in severe, life-threatening depression, heart failure, or coma.

Symptoms Include:

Weight gain or increased difficulty
losing weight

Coarse, dry hair
Dry, rough pale skin
Hair loss
Cold intolerance (you can’t tolerate cold temperatures
like those around you)

Muscle cramps and frequent muscle aches
Memory loss
Abnormal menstrual cycles
Decreased libido

Hashimoto’s can be regulated by replacing the amount of hormone that the thyroid fails to produce. T4 Replacement will help to restore bodily functions and increase TSH levels. From there, the physician will monitor and adjust the dosage of synthetic thyroxine if need be.


Thyroid Biopsy

Your doctor will remove a tiny bit of your thyroid or nodule (lump) to test in a lab. This procedure will either lead to “watchful waiting” (if benign) or surgery (if cancerous).

Nuclear Endocrinology & Thyroid Scanning

Used to evaluate the way your thyroid functions. This scan also uses small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose thyroid diseases.