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Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. There are several potential reasons for this problem, including inflammation, auto-immune disease, previous surgeries and treatments or damage to the thyroid or pituitary gland.

Risk Factors of Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism can affect patients of any age, but can be impacted by:

  • Age (more common in women over 50)
  • A family history of thyroid disease
  • Diagnosis with an auto-immune disease
  • Previous radiation treatment in the neck or upper chest
  • Previous thyroid surgery

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Hypothyroidism

Symptoms of hypothyroidism will vary depending on the severity of the deficiency and the length of time before diagnosis. They can include:

  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Memory problems
  • Cramping
  • Changes to menstrual cycle
  • Brittle hair and fingernails

To diagnose hypothyroidism, your primary care physician will perform a physical exam, noting any swelling, as well as dried skin, nails and hair, slowed reflexes and decreased heart rate. They will also examine your family’s medical history, and perform blood tests to measure thyroid hormone levels.

Treatment Options for Hypothyroidism

NorthShore’s expert team of board-certified endocrinologists works alongside your primary care physician to determine the best approach to treating your hypothyroidism. Therapy commonly involves prescribed medication to maintain healthy hormone production, and our care team will continue to monitor their effectiveness to determine dosage and address any side effects. 

For More Information

For more information on hypothyroidism, please call 847.663.8540