Hypothyroidism: etiology, diagnosis, and management

Med Clin North Am. 2012 Mar;96(2):203-21. doi: 10.1016/j.mcna.2012.01.005. Epub 2012 Feb 14.


Hypothyroidism is the result of inadequate production of thyroid hormone or inadequate action of thyroid hormone in target tissues. Primary hypothyroidism is the principal manifestation of hypothyroidism, but other causes include central deficiency of thyrotropin-releasing hormone or thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), or consumptive hypothyroidism from excessive inactivation of thyroid hormone. Subclinical hypothyroidism is present when there is elevated TSH but a normal free thyroxine level. Treatment involves oral administration of exogenous synthetic thyroid hormone. This review presents an update on the etiology and types of hypothyroidism, including subclinical disease; drugs and thyroid function; and diagnosis and treatment of hypothyroidism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy / methods
  • Humans
  • Hypothyroidism / blood
  • Hypothyroidism / diagnosis*
  • Hypothyroidism / drug therapy*
  • Risk Factors
  • Thyroid Function Tests
  • Thyroid Hormones / blood*
  • Thyroid Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Thyrotropin / blood
  • Thyrotropin / therapeutic use
  • Thyroxine / blood
  • Thyroxine / therapeutic use
  • Triiodothyronine / blood
  • Triiodothyronine / therapeutic use


  • Thyroid Hormones
  • Triiodothyronine
  • Thyrotropin
  • Thyroxine