A basic overview of hypothyroidism focused on primary hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is a medical condition in which the thyroid is not producing enough thyroid hormone. A patient will need to know the basics of general thyroid function before understanding thyroid diseases, specifically hypothyroidism. Although there are four general causes of hypothyoidism, dysfunction of the thyroid gland itself is by far the most common reason for low thyroid function. The terminology for low thyroid function can be confusing since diagnosing hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) is usually found with a high Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) value.
As depicted in the diagram, in 'primary hypothyroidism' the TSH is usually elevated because decreased feedback of thyroid hormones from the thyroid gland causes the pituitary to attempt to stimulate the thyroid gland to produce more hormone. This TSH value has a very wide range of normal and there are some common misconceptions about the test. The endocrinologists at Houston Thyroid and Endocrine Specialists will review your symptoms in conjunction with blood analysis to determine if there is a problem. Depending on the exact cause of the low thyroid function, medical treatment of hypothyroidism may or may not be indicated.