What is Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism causes the body to slow down. It occurs when there is too little thyroid hormone in the blood (“hypo” means “not enough”). Hypothyroidism affects more than 5 million people, many of whom don’t know they have the disease. Women are more likely than men to have hypothyroidism.

Also, one out of every 4,000 infants is born with the condition. If the problem is not corrected, the child will become mentally and physically retarded. Therefore, all newborns in the United States are tested for the disease.

Symptoms in adults include:

  • feeling slow or tired
  • feeling cold
  • drowsy during the day, even after sleeping all night
  • slow heart rate
  • poor memory
  • difficulty concentrating
  • muscle cramps
  • weight gain
  • husky voice
  • thinning hair
  • dry and coarse skin
  • feeling depressed
  • heavy menstrual flow
  • milky discharge from the breasts
  • infertility
  • goiter

Many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism can occur normally with aging, so if you have one or two of them, there is probably no reason to worry. However, if you are concerned about any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor.