Sample Nursing Research Paper on Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is an illness that results from the thyroid gland not being able to produce sufficient thyroid hormones due to either a primary or secondary cause. The condition is progressive, presents differently in different age groups, and is treatable.

The condition has several features. Foremost, it occurs progressively from thyroid hypofunction to its complete failure; thus, it is hard to detect (Dunphy, Brown, Porter& Thomas, 2015). Secondly, the most common cause of the condition is reduced or lack of iodine in the body.  The reduction in the production of thyroid hormones slows down several body functions and metabolic reactions. Another cause is Hashimoto thyroiditis, which a disease that affects the thyroid glands and is autoimmune in nature. Among new-born babies, hypothyroidism may be caused by the thyroid gland developing abnormally, defects in enzymes, overconsumption of goitrogens by lactating mothers, and the reaction of the mother’s antibodies to the infant’s thyroid hormones. Lastly, the disease is permanent and requires therapy to manage it and restore a euthyroid state.

The pathophysiology of hypothyroidism occurs at the peripheral tissues. Normally, the body produces between 100 to 125 mcg of thyroxine (T4) and smaller amounts of triiodothyronine (T3) on a daily basis. The T4 is converted to T3 at the peripheral tissues. T3 is biologically more active than T3 and very essential for every cellular metabolic activity. Hypothyroidism results when the body produces inadequate T4. This causes the thyroid gland to enlarge because of increasing pituitary thyroid-stimulating hormone. The hyperplasia and hypertrophy of the thyroid glands become stimulated resulting in the formation of goitre.

The symptoms of hypothyroidism are different in newborns and adolescents, but those for adolescents resemble those of young adults and mature adults. Symptoms synonymous with new-borns include delayed dental formation, growth inhibition, and mental retardation. On the other hand, adolescents may experience precocious puberty, enlarged sella turcica, as well as growth retardation. The permanent aspect of hypothyroidism is mental retardation since growth retardation is treatable with therapy involving hormone replacement.

The condition can be managed. Patients have to undergo frequent screening. Adults over 35 years old have to be screened every five years. Additionally, the condition is treatable, and medicines, such are levothyroxine, are encouraged for patients with underactive thyroids. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are encouraged for patients who have subacute thyroiditis (Cash & Glass, 2017). For patients with goitre that is blocking their airway, surgery may be undertaken. However, the most effective treatment against hypothyroidism is creating awareness and undertaking patient teachings.

Hypothyroidism is caused by the body’s failure to produce enough iodine, and its symptoms vary with age. While the condition is hard to diagnose and can be fatal, it is treatable.


Cash, J. & Glass, C. (2017). Family practice guideline (4thed.).New York, MA: Springer Publishing Company, LLC.

Dunphy, L., Brown, J., Porter, B. & Thomas, D. (2015). Primary care: The art and science of advanced practice nursing (4th ed.). Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company.