Treating Hypothyroidism With Hormone Replacement Therapy

When something goes wrong with your health, it isn't always immediately apparent what you need to do to solve the problem. Learn how to work with your doctor.

Treating Hypothyroidism With Hormone Replacement Therapy

9 September 2015
 Categories: , Blog

The symptoms of an underactive thyroid gland are similar to those of several other medical ailments. Because of the similarities, specific lab testing is necessary to diagnose hypothyroidism. Once diagnosed, affected individuals can usually see their hormone levels return to normal after undergoing hormone replacement therapy.

The thyroid gland produces hormones that are transported throughout the body to facilitate cellular metabolism. The hormones are essential for cells to function efficiently. The symptoms of an underactive thyroid gland include the following:

  • fatigue or lethargy
  • dry skin
  • increased cold sensitivity

If lab tests indicate that your symptoms are the result of low thyroid hormone levels, a synthetic hormone replacement is available. Although available under various brand names, levothyroxine is the generic name for the most common thyroid hormone replacement. After you begin hormone treatment, continued testing is necessary until the optimal dosage is determined.

Hormone level testing

In addition to thyroid hormone, a separate hormone produced by the pituitary gland in the brain is also measured. The pituitary hormone is a thyroid-stimulating hormone and is referred to as TSH. The level of TSH normally controls how much hormone is produced by the thyroid.

A high level of TSH generally indicates that the body needs a greater amount of thyroid hormone. Although levothyroxine is a synthetic equivalent, the pituitary gland recognizes it as thyroid hormone. After you begin hormone replacement therapy, the dosage is incrementally adjusted until your TSH level remains consistently within a normal range.

Ongoing maintenance

Once your thyroid hormone levels are stabilized, you can reasonably expect to experience an increase in your energy level. Hormone replacement therapy may be a lifelong proposition. There are several practices to help maximize the effectiveness of hormone replacement.

Levothyroxine is typically taken each morning on an empty stomach, but within 30 minutes before breakfast. If you take iron or calcium supplements, they should not be taken within four hours of taking levothyroxine. A relatively common food to be avoided completely when taking levothyroxine is walnuts.

If you forget to take a scheduled dose, take it as soon as possible. If the time is near for the next dose, just skip the missed dose and take the regularly scheduled dosage. As always, your physician is your most reliable source for medical advice.

Replacement therapy can maintain your thyroid hormone level for the rest of your years. Most importantly, it is capable of restoring vitality to the affected aspects of your life. Contact a medical specialist for further information about thyroid problems and treatments. To find out more, contact a business like Alpine Ear, Nose & Throat, PC.

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Working With Your Doctor

When something goes wrong with your health, it isn't always immediately apparent what you need to do to solve the problem. As you visit with your regular doctor, you might hope that he can give you a single medication to make things right, instead of bouncing around to various specialists. However, specialists have a specific set of skills that can make your health problems melt away. For example, ear nose and throat doctors know how issues with those areas could alter the rest of the body. Read this blog to learn more about what a specialist could do to help, so that you aren't left wondering what to do.