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National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.
Hypothyroidism is a condition characterized by abnormally decreased activity of the thyroid gland and deficient production of thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland secretes hormones that play an essential role in regulating growth, maturation, and the rate of metabolism.
Specific symptoms and findings associated with hypothyroidism may be variable, depending upon the age at symptom onset, the degree of thyroid hormone deficiency, and/or other factors. In many adults with hypothyroidism, the condition may be characterized by generalized fatigue and lack of energy (lethargy), muscle weakness and cramping, dryness of the skin and hair, incomplete or infrequent passing of stools (constipation), sensitivity to cold, and other symptoms. If the condition is present at birth (congenital hypothyroidism), associated symptoms and findings may become apparent during early infancy. These may include respiratory and feeding difficulties, listlessness, protrusion of the abdomen, constipation, dry skin, coarse hair, progressive accumulation of fluid within bodily tissues, and other associated abnormalities. Some affected infants may have progressive retardation of physical and mental development that becomes increasingly severe (cretinism) without early recognition of the condition and prompt treatment.
There are several different causes of hypothyroidism. The condition may result from an underlying defect that is present at birth (congenital), such as improper development (dysplasia) or absence (aplasia) of the thyroid gland or biochemical (enzymatic) abnormalities. The condition may also develop later during childhood or adulthood (acquired) due to certain underlying disorders, the use of particular medications, or surgical removal of the thyroid gland. Although hypothyroidism most frequently affects adult females, the condition occurs in both genders and may become apparent at any age.
NIH/National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive & Kidney Diseases
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American Thyroid Association
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MUMS National Parent-to-Parent Network
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Green Bay, WI 54301-1243
Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
For a Complete Report
This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.® (NORD). Cigna members can access the complete report by logging into myCigna.com. For non-Cigna members, a copy of the complete report can be obtained for a small fee by visiting the NORD website. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational treatments (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, see http://www.rarediseases.org/search/rdblist.html.
The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.
It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report
This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.
For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site www.rarediseases.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated: 7/11/2011
Copyright 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1997, 1999, 2001 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.