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N/A

Abstract

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Synonyms of N/A

  • Myxedema

Disorder Subdivisions

  • No subdivisions found.

General Discussion

Hypothyroidism is a condition characterized by abnormally decreased activity of the thyroid gland and deficient production of thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland secretes hormones that play an essential role in regulating growth, maturation, and the rate of metabolism.

Specific symptoms and findings associated with hypothyroidism may be variable, depending upon the age at symptom onset, the degree of thyroid hormone deficiency, and/or other factors. In many adults with hypothyroidism, the condition may be characterized by generalized fatigue and lack of energy (lethargy), muscle weakness and cramping, dryness of the skin and hair, incomplete or infrequent passing of stools (constipation), sensitivity to cold, and other symptoms. If the condition is present at birth (congenital hypothyroidism), associated symptoms and findings may become apparent during early infancy. These may include respiratory and feeding difficulties, listlessness, protrusion of the abdomen, constipation, dry skin, coarse hair, progressive accumulation of fluid within bodily tissues, and other associated abnormalities. Some affected infants may have progressive retardation of physical and mental development that becomes increasingly severe (cretinism) without early recognition of the condition and prompt treatment.

There are several different causes of hypothyroidism. The condition may result from an underlying defect that is present at birth (congenital), such as improper development (dysplasia) or absence (aplasia) of the thyroid gland or biochemical (enzymatic) abnormalities. The condition may also develop later during childhood or adulthood (acquired) due to certain underlying disorders, the use of particular medications, or surgical removal of the thyroid gland. Although hypothyroidism most frequently affects adult females, the condition occurs in both genders and may become apparent at any age.

N/A Resources

Organizations:

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