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Hypothyroidism can be caused by the autoimmune disease Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, where the immune system attacks the thyroid organ, resulting in the under-production of thyroid hormone. In undeveloped countries, Hypothyroidism is commonly caused by iodine deficiency in the diets because the thyroid gland, located in the neck, cannot make enough of the hormones that are needed[1]. The thyroid hormones, T3 and T4, control the metabolism of the body cells. Therefore, during hypothyroidism, the cells of the body work more slowly than usual[2]. The most common cause of hypothyroidism in developed countries is due to the condition Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition where the body's immune system attacks its own thyroid tissue[3][4]. Symptoms include: dry skin, cold, depression, constipation and weight gain. There is no known cure for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, but it can be regulated using medication that contains the hormones not being produced by the thyroid gland, such as Levothyroxine. Levothyroxine increases the level of thyroxine in the blood. The level of thyroid stimulating hormone decreases, as it no longer needs to continuously stimulate an underactive thyroid[5].

See also Hyperthyroidism.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3267517/
  2. British Thyroid Foundation (2014)Available at:http://www.btf-thyroid.org/index.php/thyroid (Accessed: 27th November 2014)
  3. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/hypothyroidism
  4. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/hashimotos-disease
  5. American Thyroid Association (2014) Available at: http://www.thyroid.org/wp-content/uploads/patients/brochures/Hypo_brochure.pdf (Accessed: 27th November 2014)
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