Last updated:10-15-2008
Bookmark and Share

Definition and causes

Impaired function of the thyroid gland, is often referred to in public as a result of low metabolism. In the jargon it is called myksødem, hypotyreose or hypotyreoidisme. With disability meant for low secretion of thyroid hormone that helps regulate the body's metabolism. For small amounts of this hormone gives just a low metabolism, and many of the functions carried out at a slower pace.

The mode most commonly seen in people over 40 years, and especially among women.

The mode can have various causes, the most common are:

  • Hashimoto's disease or chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland. A disease in which the body's own immune cells attack the thyroid gland and causes of low secretion of thyroid hormone. Seen both with and without the enlargement of the thyroid (goitre). It is the leading cause of reduced activity in the thyroid and is due to a combination of hereditary and environmental factors.

  • The mode can be due to treatment of disease in the thyroid gland, ie. after an operation or after treatment with radioactive iodine (see treatment of hypertyreose).

  • By inflammation of the thyroid gland, called subacute tyroiditis or postpartum tyroiditis, (last seen after pregnancy), after a phase of high activity in the thyroid (hypertyreose), there was a period of low activity, which can be therapy.

  • Certain medicines, for example. lithium (used to treat mental illness), or amiodarone (heart medicine), which can cause side effects decreased activity in the thyroid. Taking a herbal preparation containing iodine, for example. tangmel (KELP), may occasionally give decreased activity in the thyroid.

  • The mode can be present at birth, due to insufficient development of the thyroid gland.

  • Rarely seen the state as a result of the low secretion of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) from the pituitary. (See hypopituitarism).

Symptoms of reduced activity in the thyroid

The symptoms are often insidiously over months to years, and may therefore be difficult to detect. They may include:

  • Extreme fatigue and indolence.

  • Weight increased.

  • Constipation.

  • Hoarseness of voice.

  • Kuldskærhed.

  • Bloated face and swelling around the eyes.

  • Dry and rough skin.

  • Hair becomes thinner.

  • In women seen disruption of the menstrual cycle.

Precautions and diagnosis

If you previously operated in the thyroid gland or have had radioactive jodbehandling, it is important to pay attention to the development of the above symptoms. You must also avoid ingesting excessive amounts of iodine, as well as certain medicines or herbal (see above).

If you have these symptoms, it is important to the doctor. The diagnosis is often made solely by the often very characteristic symptoms, but this is supplemented with blood tests measuring hormone levels in the blood.

Possibly, an ultrasound study that would identify the internal structure of the thyroid, or a thyroideascientigrafi where you measure the activity of the thyroid gland.

In order to detect congenital deficiency of thyroid gland function, takes in Denmark routine blood tests on all newborns to measure their hormone levels in the blood.

Treatment of reduced activity in the thyroid

Priority will be given medical treatment in the form of synthetic thyroid hormone. It pays off with a low dose in the elderly and in hjertesyge, not to provoke cardiac symptoms, because thyroid hormone has a stimulating effect on the heart.
Subsequently revised upwards until the body's metabolic set at a reasonable level. This assessed by the severity of the symptoms, and using blood samples.

Treatment typically inspected once a year for life. Hormone need declines with age, but increases for example. during pregnancy.

In congenital deficiency of thyroid hormone treatment begins even before symptoms arise. If the condition is detected and treated early looks in subsequent normal growth and development.


Elapsed disease depends on the cause of the illness:

  • In Hashimoto's disease seen it in individual cases, the disease is in itself again and the medical treatment can be entered. In most must still reckon with lifelong treatment and control.

  • At the low activity of the thyroid gland, which occurs after an operation or after treatment with radioactive iodine, the state is often transient and only needed treatment for a period. In some, there is a need for lifelong treatment and control.

  • By inflammation of the thyroid gland, is the subacute tyroiditis only need lifelong treatment with 1, while at tyroiditis postpartum (after pregnancy) are needed for lifelong treatment in up to 30


Adverse reactions to the medical treatment is very limited, but there can be symptoms of high activity in the thyroid, if the medication overdoses.

Myksødem coma, a serious complication is primarily seen in prolonged untreated illness, seen very rarely (a few cases in Denmark annually). The symptoms are cramps and awareness impact and requires immediate medical treatment, while the untreated leads to death.


Related articles:

Decreased activity in biskjoldbruskkirtlerne (Hypoparatyreoidisme)
Decreased activity of the thyroid (Myksødem)
Increased activity in biskjoldbruskkirtlerne (Hyperparatyreoidisme)
Increased activity in the thyroid (Tyreotoksikose)
Thyroid and biskjoldbruskkirtlerne (glandular thyroid and glandular paratyroidea)
Tumor of the thyroid (Tumors in the thyroid gland)



Top 5


Information on these pages should not replace professional doctors.
© Copyright 2010 Health & Disease - All rights reserved
Search health and
You are here: