Underactive thyroid, otherwise known as hypothyroidism, is a prevalent worldwide endocrine problem. Although various treatments are available to treat the disorder, many people do not receive the proper therapies.
All treatments prescribed by your physician have to be followed religiously so therapeutic effects can be expected.
The treatment for underactive thyroid is divided into four sections. These are initial treatment, ongoing therapies, emergency rescue treatment, and alternative medicines to treat the disorder
The initial treatment of underactive thyroid may involve the use of hormone replacement drugs. The doctor orders doses of the medication to treat the present symptoms experienced by the patient. Together with these hypothyroid drugs, the patient is given several medications for other problems like high cholesterol levels and obesity. Once the patient responds to the treatment and the hormone levels in the body begin to normalize, the doctor will order lifelong thyroid supplements to the patient.
Because hypothyroidism cannot be totally cured, the doctor gives treatments that are meant to stabilize the condition of the patient. Through thyroid replacement drugs, one can be given the right amount of hormones needed by the body.
Standard treatment for this disorder involves the use of synthetic thyroid replacements. The most popular hormone used to treat hypothyroidism is levothyroxine. It is a genetically prescribed drug that has several brand names available that we listed in a previous chapter. This medication restores the deficient thyroid hormones in your body. It shifts your body back into normal gear.
Two weeks after the treatment, the patient may begin to feel the changes. The hypothyroid patient may feel less fatigued and may gradually reduce in weight. The high cholesterol levels of the patient may also be gradually relieved through this hormone supplementation.
Since the treatment is taken for life, your hormone levels have to be checked on a yearly basis. You have to expect checkups all year round. Excessive amounts of the hormone can cause adverse effects and may cause a hyperthyroid state. Therefore, checking the level of hormones is necessary to maintain the therapeutic effects of the drug.
Emergency Rescue Treatment for the Hypothryoid Patient
A condition called Myxedema coma can happen in uncontrolled conditions of hypothyroid patients. This is an emergency state which needs immediate treatment. If the symptoms of Myxedema coma begin to surface, you should visit the doctor immediately. Emergency drugs will be given to restore the normal condition of the patient.
The Drug for Hypothyroid Condition
Levothyroxine is the popular brand used to treat patients in a hypothyroid state. This drug stimulates the pituitary gland to release the right amount of hormones needed by the body. The medication has to be taken for life in controlled doses.
When the appropriate dose is given, the patient will experience no side effects from Levothyroxine therapy. If you plan to change the brand of your medication, the doctor has to know about it first. It is important not to skip or miss doses so the thyroid hormones can be regulated effectively.
Ensuring Proper Absorption of Levothyroxine
There are certain supplements, medications, and even foods that may affect the absorption of Levothyroxine in the body. These substances have to be avoided so maximum therapeutic effects can be expected. If you eat large amounts of fiber and soy products, you must tell your doctor about it. You also have to list all the medications you are taking so the doctor can be aware of any possible drug to drug interactions that may occur.
If you are taking any of these medications, it is important to inform your doctor:
- iron supplements
- calcium supplements
- Aluminum hydroxide
- Other forms of antacids
- Cholestyramine (Questran)
Alternative Medicine for Underactive Thyroid Patients
Alternative medicine is also popularly used for hypothyroidism. However, not all doctors may recommend the use of this form of treatment because they are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Although they may help in some cases, they couldn’t fully treat your hypothyroid condition. It is still best to visit your doctors and ask for advice regarding the matter.