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What Causes an Underactive Thyroid?An underactive thyroid is most often caused by conditions that affect the thyroid gland. The most common condition is Hashimoto's thyroiditis. This is a type of autoimmune thyroid disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys the thyroid gland. This condition is more common in older women. It is also the most common cause of hypothyroidism in children.
- Surgical removal of part or all of the thyroid gland
- Radiation treatment of the thyroid
- Thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid gland)
- Congenital hypothyroidism (hypothyroidism that is present at birth)
- Certain medications
- Iodine deficiency or excess.
Signs and Symptoms of an Underactive ThyroidThyroid hormones play a role in the normal functioning of many different parts of the body, including:
- The skin
- Heart and blood vessels
- The nervous system
- The reproductive system
- The digestive system.
- Weight gain
- Puffy face
- Joint and muscle pain, aches, and stiffness
- Dry, thinning, or coarse hair
- Brittle nails
- Decreased sweating
- Heavy or irregular menstrual periods
- Difficulty catching your breath (extreme shortness of breath) when exercising.