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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is hypothyroidism?

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  • Specializing in weight reduction, diabetes and cholesterol management, high blood pressure, GIT disorders - including IBS, coeliac disease, food intolerance and food chemical sensitivity, childhood … View Profile

    The thyroid gland is situated at the front of the throat, below the Adam’s apple (larynx). It comprises two lobes that lie on either side of the windpipe, joined in front by an isthmus. The thyroid gland secretes hormones to regulate many metabolic processes, including growth and energy expenditure. Hypothyroidism means the thyroid gland is underactive and fails to secrete enough hormones into the bloodstream. This causes the person’s metabolism to slow down.

    Hypothyroidism is the most common thyroid disorder, and it is thought to affect around six to 10 per cent of women. The prevalence rises with age - up to a quarter of women over the age of 65 years may be affected. Men are also affected, but less frequently. Hypothyroidism can be either primary or secondary. Primary hypothyroidism means that the thyroid gland itself is diseased, while secondary hypothyroidism is caused by problems with the pituitary gland, the brain structure that supervises the thyroid gland. The most common cause of primary hypothyroidism is the autoimmune condition Hashimoto’s disease.

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