Any medical condition or illness that affects the thyroid gland, pituitary gland, or hypothalamus can cause low thyroid levels, also known as hypothyroidism. Symptoms are not always readily apparent and may not develop until years later. Possible signs can include things like dry skin, brittle nails, coarse hair, and weight gain -- things often associated with aging.
If you are concerned that your thyroid levels are low, your healthcare provider will gather a complete medical history and perform a detailed physical examination that includes certain blood tests. Based on the results of these tests, your healthcare provider will make a diagnosis. If you have hypothyroidism, medications are often all that is needed to treat the condition. Levothyroxine (Levothroid®, Levoxyl®, Synthroid®, Tirosint®, Unithroid®) is the most common drug used to manage symptoms and return thyroid levels to normal.
(Click Hypothyroidism to learn more about this condition. This full-length article explains what can cause low thyroid levels, how the condition is diagnosed, when treatment is necessary, and more.)
Written by/reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: ArthurSchoenstadt, MD
List of references (click here):
Tunbridge WM, Evered DC, Hall R, et al. The spectrum of thyroid disease in a community: the Whickham survey. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 1977;7:481.
Vanderpump MPJ, Tunbridge WMG, French JM, et al. The incidence of thyroid disorders in the community: a twenty-year follow-up of the Whickham survey. Clin Endocrinol. 1995;43:55.
Oppenheimer JH, Braverman LE, Toft AD, et al. Thyroid hormone treatment: when and what? J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1995;80:2873.
Kaplan MM. Management of thyroxine therapy during pregnancy. Endocr Pract. 1996;2:281.
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