Hypothyroidism is a medical condition that results from an inadequate supply of hormones from the thyroid gland in the neck.
If hypothyroidism develops before birth, the infant is retarded both mentally and physically. See also cretinism.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism

The symptoms of hypothyroidism include: Tiredness, Weight gain, Sensitivity to cold.
The patient’s skin becomes dry and puffy, especially on the face, and the hair of the scalp and the eyebrows becomes dry and brittle.
The voice may become hoarse, and anemia may develop.
Sometimes, there is numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.
Constipation is common.
In women there are menstrual disorders, such as heavy bleeding and irregular periods.
These symptoms develop gradually.
Over a period of time, if the condition is untreated, the individual's personality can also change.
There may be a slowing down of the thought processes, sometimes mild confusion and dementia, and occasionally symptoms that suggest paranoia. This severe form of hypothyroidism is called myx-edema.

Treatment for hypothyroidism

A physician usually begins treatment of hypothyroidism with a small dose of one of the thyroid hormones and then gradually increases the dose.
The increase generally takes several weeks, because a sudden change may cause cardiac problems, especially in an elderly patient.
Patients who receive appropriate treatment for hypothyroidism recover completely and can expect to lead a normal life. They will, however, require treatment for the rest of their lives, with occasional blood tests to ensure that the correct amounts of hormones are being given.