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The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck. It produces hormones that control metabolism. Hypothyroidism results when the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough thyroid hormone. The most common form of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Tests may include blood tests to check levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), and/or free T4. Your doctor may recommend other tests to rule out health conditions that are similar to hypothyroidism.
Thyroid replacement therapy involves taking medications that replace the function of the thyroid gland. This therapy may also prevent cancer cell growth in people who had surgery or radiation treatment for thyroid cancer.
People with Hashimoto's thyroiditis are monitored as long as they have normal thyroid function and remain symptom-free. Once function decreases or symptoms appear, treatment is started with thyroid replacement therapy.
There are no current guidelines to prevent hypothyroidism.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and United States Preventive Services Task Force recommend screening all newborns for congenital hypothyroidism. If you are at high risk for developing hypothyroidism talk to your doctor about annual screening.
American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. AACE medical guidelines for clinical practice for the evaluation and treatment of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
Endocrine Practice. 2002;8:457-469.
Escobar-Morreale HF, Botella-Carretero JI, Escobar del Rey F, et al. Treatment of hypothyroidism with combinations of levothyroxine plus liothyronine.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005;90:4946-4954.
Hypothyroidism. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated January 22, 2014. Accessed February 4, 2014.
Roberts CG, Ladenson PW. Hypothyroidism.
Surks MI, Ortiz E, Daniels GH, et al. Subclinical thyroid disease: scientific review and guidelines for diagnosis and management
Thyroid hormone treatment. American Thyroid Association website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Published June 4, 2012. Accessed November 25, 2013.
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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.