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Underactive Thyroid

What Is Hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid)?

Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), leading to a slowdown in many bodily functions. While hypothyroidism can be temporary, it is usually a permanent condition affecting nearly 25 million people, most of whom have hypothyroidism.

The Features of Hypothyroidism

In its early stages, hypothyroidism may cause few symptoms, but as thyroid hormone production decreases, various symptoms can occur:

  • Pervasive fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty with learning
  • Dry, brittle hair and nails
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Puffy face
  • Constipation
  • Sore muscles
  • Weight gain and fluid retention
  • Heavy and/or irregular menstrual flow
  • Increased frequency of miscarriages
  • Increased sensitivity to many medications

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The Causes of Hypothyroidism

  • Medications: Lithium, high doses of iodine, and amiodarone can cause hypothyroidism.
  • Radioactive Iodine Treatment: Often a desired outcome after treating hyperthyroidism.
  • Thyroid Operation: Surgery on the thyroid gland can lead to hypothyroidism.
  • Autoimmune Thyroiditis: The immune system attacks the thyroid, often causing hypothyroidism and goiter.
  • Subacute Thyroiditis: Viral infections can lead to temporary thyroid inflammation and hypothyroidism.
  • Postpartum Thyroiditis: Affects 5-10% of women after childbirth, potentially leading to permanent hypothyroidism.
  • Silent Thyroiditis: Similar to postpartum thyroiditis but not related to pregnancy.
  • Congenital Hypothyroidism: Infants born with inadequate thyroid tissue or enzyme defects.
  • Central Hypothyroidism: Caused by pituitary gland diseases affecting TSH production.
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How Is Hypothyroidism Diagnosed?

Characteristic symptoms and physical signs can signal hypothyroidism. Diagnostic laboratory tests are essential to confirm the diagnosis and determine the cause.

  • TSH (Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone) Test: An increased TSH level indicates primary hypothyroidism. Peripheral thyroid hormone levels and autoantibodies tests can also be helpful.

How Is Hypothyroidism Treated?

Hypothyroidism is usually treated with a daily dose of levothyroxine, a tablet that normalizes thyroid hormone levels. An experienced physician will prescribe the correct form and dosage, considering the patient’s age and underlying health conditions. Treatment usually continues for life, with periodic monitoring to ensure proper dosage.

  • Medication Adjustment: The body is sensitive to small changes in thyroid hormone levels, so doses may need to be adjusted over time.
  • Monitoring During Pregnancy: Thyroid hormone requirements often change during pregnancy, necessitating more frequent monitoring.
  • Infant Treatment: Infants with hypothyroidism should receive their hormone by crushing a tablet and suspending it in liquid, not with liquid suspensions purchased, to ensure the correct dose.

Proper management requires ongoing care by an experienced physician to maintain optimal thyroid hormone levels and prevent complications such as increased cholesterol, heart disease, and osteoporosis.

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Meet Our Endocrinologists

Our Endocrinologists, Dr. Carlo A. Fumero, Sean Amirzadeh, DO, Alberto Garcia Mendez, Lauren Sosdorf, and Pedro Troya, are board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and have a wealth of experience treating thyroid conditions. They will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan that meets your unique needs.


What our patients say about us

Deborah Diaz
Deborah Diaz
Attentive, thorough, compassionate, genuine, loyal.
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As a patient of Dr. Troya’s for several years, I would highly recommend this endocrinologist to anyone. He gives full attention to you and your needs without being pressed for time. His diagnosis and treatments are thorough with up-to-date technology and years of experience. His concern and compassion are genuine with your best interest at heart. After having multiple biopsies performed by Dr. Troya, I am definitely a loyal follower.
Victor Cruz
Victor Cruz
Successful diabetes treatment, complete care
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I have been going to Dr. Troya for a year. He has treated my Diabetes with great success. He communicates with my other doctors, so he has a complete medical history of all my health issues. We need more caring doctors like Dr. Troya who has the patient’s best interest at heart. I am very thankful for Dr. Pedro Troya.
Michael Hoover
Michael Hoover
Stabilized diabetes, regained pilot's license.
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I was a private pilot for 34 years before contracting Type 1 diabetes after a severe case of food poisoning in March of 2008. My first endocrinologist refused to assist me in working with the FAA to retain my pilot’s license. I became a patient of Dr. Troya in 2010. Since that time, he has put me on a Continuous Glucose Monitoring regime and helped me stabilize my blood glucose levels to levels that allow me to pass my FAA medical exam. His caring and interest in each patient's personal issues, as well as their medical outcomes, marks him as an outstanding physician.
KC Mullis
KC Mullis
Personable, caring, thorough, trusted physician.
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Dr. Carlos Fumero is a very personable and caring physician. He takes the time to listen and is very thorough in his evaluations and explanations. He exercises incredible care and concern. I have been referring family members and friends to Dr. Carlos Fumero for almost two years now. We are all exceptionally grateful to have found such a trusted physician. Thank you, Dr. Carlos Fumero. Your kindness and medical expertise are more appreciated than I could ever express in words.
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