Clinical Aspects of Hypothyroidism

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The secretion of the thyroid gland must he maintained at a fairly constant level of production if the human organism is to remain in a state of well-being. For a number of reasons, some known and some unknown, many individuals are unable to maintain an adequate production of thyroxin and this results in various states of disability. The degree of thyroid insufficiency and the age and rapidity of onset are variable factors which serve to produce so wide a range of clinical pictures simulating other conditions that frequently the primary source is not readily apparent.

To suspect the presence of hypothyroidism is all that is necessary to make a correct diagnosis and eventually entirely relieve all the symptoms that result from such a deficiency. However, because of the remarkably negative and unimpressive character of most of the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism, this condition frequently escapes detection. In view of this peculiar lack of identifying characteristics and the failure of this disease to be impressive in nature, it seems justifiable to present a subject that offers no new features, purely with the object of keeping before you the possibility of a much overlooked cause of many morbid conditions.

The following simple classification will serve as an outline for the further discussion of the problem.

  1. Myxedema—severe hypothyroidism of adults.

  2. Cretinism—severe hypothyroidism of children.

  3. Postoperative or postradiation hypothyroidism and hypothyroidism due to exhaustion of the thyroid by untreated hyperthyroidism. Patients in whom this latter condition occurs may. . .



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