The purpose of the thyroid gland is to make, store, and release thyroid hormones, which help control many of the bodys functions. If there is too little thyroid hormone in the blood, you have a condition called hypothyroidism. 

Symptoms may include tiredness, forgetfulness, brittle nails, dry skin, puffy face and eyes, depression, unexplained weight gain, and cold intolerance. However, the number and type of symptoms vary from patient to patient.

Hypothyroidism is a Common Disorder

It is a common thyroid disorder, occurring five times more often in women than in men, and with greater frequency in older individuals.
    Hypothyroidism may affect 4% to 8% of the general population.

    It may affect 9% to 16% of the population over age 602

Fortunately, Hypothyroidism is Very Easily Treated

Hypothyroidism is easily treated with thyroid hormone replacement therapy, which is taken daily as a pill, usually for the rest of the patients life.

The type of thyroid hormone replacement therapy most often prescribed is called levothyroxine sodium.

What Causes Hypothyroidism?

The most common cause of hypothyroidism in the US is Hashimotos disease.
Named after the Japanese doctor who first described it, Hashimotos disease is an autoimmune condition in which the bodys immune system attacks and destroys the thyroid gland.

Another cause of hypothyroidism, more common outside of the US, is iodine deficiency.

Iodine, which must be supplied by the diet, is an essential component of thyroid hormone. If there is insufficient iodine available in the diet, enough thyroid hormone cannot be produced, and this leads to hypothyroidism.