Conditions InDepth: Hypothyroidism
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland does not make enough hormones. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck. A healthy thyroid makes the hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These play many roles in the body, such as:
If it is not treated, it can lead to many health problems, such as obesity and heart disease.
Hashimoto thyroiditis is the most common cause. A problem with the immune system causes it to attack thyroid gland cells.
Other causes are:
Chaker L, Bianco AC, et al. Hypothyroidism. Lancet. 2017 Sep 23;390(10101):1550-1562.
Hypothyroidism in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/hypothyroidism-in-adults. Accessed February 10, 2021.
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/hypothyroidism. Accessed February 10, 2021.
Last reviewed December 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board James P. Cornell, MD
Last Updated: 2/10/2021
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.