What is Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)?

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid (a gland) does not produce enough thyroid hormone. This affects the entire body and can make you feel tired and weak. If hypothyroidism is not treated it can increase cholesterol levels making you more prone to a heart attack or stroke. With treatment, hypothyroidism is easily controlled.

What are the causes?

  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis – causes the body’s immune system to attack the thyroid by mistake, affecting its ability to produce thyroid hormones
  • Treatment for hyperthyroidism – can cause permanent hypothyroidism
  • Radiation therapy
  • Thyroid surgery – when the thyroid is removed it cannot produce hormones normally
  • Medications

Treatments for Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid):

  • Daily use of a synthetic thyroid hormone

What can I do?

  • Make sure your child takes medication as directed
  • Ask about nutritional supplements (vitamins and minerals) that may help maintain a healthy lifestyle


It is important to remember the health information found on this Web site is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your health care provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a true medical emergency, call 911 immediately.


  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Puffy face
  • Hoarse voice
  • Sluggishness
  • Pale, dry skin
  • Elevated blood cholesterol
  • Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints
  • Heavier periods than normal
  • Brittle fingernails and hair
  • Constipation
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Memory problems
  • Depression
Additional symptoms include:
  • Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in newborns:
  • Jaundice – yellowing of skin and whites of eyes
  • Frequent choking
  • Large protruding tongue
  • Puffy appearance in face Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in children:
  • Poor growth
  • Delayed development of permanent teeth
  • Delayed puberty
  • Poor mental development