Hypothyroidism is a condition characterized by a deficiency of thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency is the most common cause worldwide, but Hashimoto's disease (autoimmune thyroiditis) is the leading cause in non–iodine-deficient regions. Primary hypothyroidism occurs with thyroid gland disorders, while the central type arises from pituitary and hypothalamic conditions. Thyroid hormones are integral in metabolic processes and in the development of the brain and other organs. Congenital hypothyroidism can result in significant mental disability due to the loss of thyroid hormones. The features of acquired hypothyroidism also reflect the effects of slowed organ function, such as fatigue, bradycardia, cold intolerance, and exertional dyspnea. Diagnosis is by thyroid function testing. Elevated thyroid stimulating hormone and low free thyroxine (T4) levels are noted. Treatment is with synthetic T4.