Hypothyroidism treatment

Hypothyroidism occurs when an individual produces unusually low amount of thyroid hormones. There are numerous illnesses that may eventually cause hypothyroidism, all of which affects the thyroid gland one way or another. The thyroid gland influences much of the body’s functions, even on cellular levels. Therefore any problems related with the thyroid gland may affect numerous parts of the body in many different ways.

Hypothyroidism is a well-known illness as it is quite common around the world. Nearly 5% of the world population suffers from at least a single type of hypothyroidism. It has also been seen that this disease is more common amongst women and the chance that an individual will suffer from hypothyroidism grows with the person’s age. Few of the causes of hypothyroidism include a few forms of thyroiditis, destruction of the thyroid gland that could possibly be caused by surgery or radioactive iodine, hypothalamic or pituitary disease, a serious lack of iodine in the body or even a few medicines.

There are no clear-cut symptoms for hypothyroidism. It is often noted that they are misunderstood and thought to be symptoms of other diseases. They are sometimes even thought to be the effect of ageing. People who suffer from very slight hypothyroidism usually have little or no symptoms. The symptoms only become noticeable when the disease gets worse and most of the symptoms that occur are caused by the body’s metabolic rate slowing down. Few of the common symptoms are a significant increase in weight which may in turn cause depression, heightened levels of cholesterol, being unable or having less concentration and even constipation.

Treatment of hypothyroidism is one that will have to be adapted for the rest of the individual’s life. Previously, hypothyroidism was treated with desiccated thyroid tablets. These tablets comprised of thyroid hormones collected from the thyroid glands of different animals. They were very unstable as the effectiveness of the tablets was different in every production batch. Nowadays, hypothyroidism is usually treated with artificial levothyroxine (T4).

Even though T4 is the drug that is selected to treat hypothyroidism, T3 is in fact the most operational thyroid hormone in the human body. T4 is selected for numerous reasons. First of all, this hormone is much more stable than T3, meaning that it will last longer and the dosage will be smaller; usually once a day. Using T3 to treat hypothyroidism would need numerous doses every day. In most people, T4 is slowly and instinctively converted to T3 by the body whenever required.

The typical dosage for adults is 1.6 micrograms for every kilogram weight of the patient. This means that nearly 100 to 150 micrograms is required by an adult every day. It is also seen that T4 therapy heightens known heart conditions in many patients, with older patients usually suffering at a greater extent. If they do not have any known heart conditions, usually their underlying heart diseases start to surface which may lead to chest pain and even a heart attack. For these risk factors, T4 treatment is started at lower doses, approximately 25 micrograms every day and is gradually increased in an interval of 6 weeks.

T4 medication works best if taken early in the morning, normally half an hour before breakfast. The individual should also avoid medication that may contain antacids and iron as such medication obstructs the absorption of the hormone. The patient is monitored with regular check-ups every 6 weeks and can later be monitored once every year when the TSH level becomes stable. The TSH level should be maintained by keeping it within the normal range, between 0.5 to 5.0uIU/ml. Excessive thyroid medication may result in heart and blood pressure illnesses. The patient should do everything in their power to maintain a safe and normal TSH level.

Last updated on May 21st, 2010 and filed under Endocrine System. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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