Hypothyroidism is a medical condition that is characterized by inadequate secretion of the thyroid hormones. This has an adverse effect on the physical and mental growth. The endocrine functions of the body are affected by malfunctioning of the thyroid gland. For instance, the affected individual might gain weight and have clammy skin with brittle nails.
However, it is not an incurable medical condition and these symptoms can be alleviated. The treatment of this condition involves the use of synthetic thyroid hormone. The dosage of the medication is recommended, depending on the severity of the condition.
This condition is diagnosed with the help of blood tests that determine the thyrotropin (TSH) and thyroxine (T4) levels. Sometimes, checking cholesterol levels is also necessary.
Thyroid Replacement Therapy
The first and foremost line of treatment is this therapy. This therapy is recommended when the blood tests of patients show high TSH (generally 10 mU/L and above) and low T4 levels. The normal and initial treatment given is levothyroxine sodium (Synthroid, Levoxyl, or Levothroid). This is simply to give the necessary boost to the hormone secretion.
Dried and powdered hormone like Armor thyroid might be prescribed. It is made from animal glands. Although, some prefer this as it poses less autoimmune risk factors, it is usually not recommended. It is apparently believed to be good by some practitioners as it contains both T3 and T4. However, this treatment needs to be scientifically evaluated.
T3 and T4 Combination
Unless it is a special case, Triiodothyronine (T3) is not generally prescribed. Most of the time, patients give a positive response to T4 and it is naturally converted into T3, once it enters the body. There are quite a few medicines which have a combination of these.
The patient just needs to take a tablet once a day. In adults, it can take around 6 weeks before the results can be observed. Many of them may also feel better and sense an improvement in a couple of weeks. In fact, it is gradually assimilated in the organs and then its effects can be seen. Dosage starts at 50 micrograms per day. It is then increased at intervals of 3 to 4 weeks till normal levels of thyroid are attained. A maintenance dose averages around 112 mg.
A wrong dosage or missed dose can lead to:
- Heart palpitations
- Frequent bowel movements
- Excessive weight loss
- Discomfort in warm weather
- Osteoporosis, in case the dose is too high for prolonged periods
It must be noted that you cannot stop taking the medicines all of a sudden. They have to be taken for life. Taking the medicines regularly and without missing a dosage will help maintain good health.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.