[ hahy-poh-THY-roy-diz-uhm ]

Hypothyroidism is a medical condition characterized by an underactive thyroid gland, which fails to produce enough thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland, located in the front of the neck, plays a crucial role in regulating the body's metabolism, growth, and energy levels.

When someone has hypothyroidism, their thyroid gland does not produce sufficient amounts of thyroid hormones, primarily thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones are responsible for controlling various bodily functions, including heart rate, body temperature, and metabolism. When their levels become too low, it can lead to a range of symptoms and disruptions in normal bodily processes.

The symptoms of hypothyroidism can vary but may include fatigue, weight gain, feeling cold, dry skin, constipation, hair loss, muscle weakness, depression, memory problems, and decreased heart rate. Additionally, individuals with hypothyroidism may experience a swelling in the neck area called a goiter due to the enlarged thyroid gland.

Hypothyroidism is typically diagnosed through blood tests that measure levels of thyroid hormones, such as T4 and T3, as well as thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).