Hypothyroidism treatment consists of re-establishing the concentration of thyroxin, a thyroid hormone also known as T4.
The T4 is given instead of T3 because T4 has a better half life. Besides, in the body, a part transforms into T3. So T3 does not have to be replaced.
Treatment for hypothyroidism lasts for an entire life. However, there are some exceptions. And, with the correct dose, patients don’t have limitations on their activities.
An excellent medicine, known as levothyroxin, which doctors should prescribe with the lowest dose possible to re-establish levels of T4.
Establishing the correct dose
In order to establish the correct dose, the doctor must conduct an evaluation of the patient based on:
- Clinical history
After establishing the dosage, at 6 to 8 weeks, the physician will carry out other tests to measure the levels of T4 and TSH in the blood. The thyrotropin or TSH is the stimulating hormone of the thyroid. It is produced in the hypophysis to regulate the production of thyroid hormones.
If the test doesn’t reflect the physiological conditions, the physician will change the dosage of the medication to obtain the desired results.
The medicine with the best outcome is levothroxin. So, this should be prescribed with the lowest dose possible that is adequate to re-establish the levels of T4.
Additionally, a patient who experiences good results is someone who is treated with levels according to their size. These would be T4 levels between 4 and 10 ug% and TSH between 0.5 and 5 uUI/m.
There are some concrete cases that adjust the dosage to be more specific for effective hypothyroidism treatment:
- People over 60 years of age: The dose for these patients must be less than for young people. The adjustment must be gradual to prevent heart problems.
- Pregnancy: Women who are pregnant should have an adjusted dose.
- Infants, children and adolescents: Should have periodic exams. The dose should be less than for adults and should be based on the weight of the person.
- Some adults and children have had thyroid cancer. These patients should take levothyroxin to avoid the possibility that hypophysis will produce TSH. Without that, the thyroid will not grow. It also reduces the possibility of recurrence of cancer. Medical exams need to be done more frequently to prevent problems of the bones and heart.
Experts recommend a series of steps to take for hypothyroidism treatment. Among those are:
- If someone decides to change the brand of medicine being used, the patient should notify the doctor.
- Patients should not take the medicine on an empty stomach. Food can interfere in the absorption of the medicine, particularly those rich in soy and fiber.
- Even though symptoms are better, patients should not stop taking the medicine before consulting a doctor.
- Be careful if taking food supplements or medicine that bind to bile acid. Doctors recommend waiting 4 hours after taking them to administer treatment.
- Maintain a balanced diet. Patients with hypothyroidism tend to gain weight. Because of this, a diet low in fat and rich in fruits and vegetables is best.
Be aware of the following:
- Rapid weight loss
- Restlessness or tremors
These symptoms are typical of an overactive thyroid hormones.
Hypothyroidism can occur if we have a dose that is too high.
Other alternatives to the hypothyroidism treatment
Some patients prefer other hypothyroidism treatment options:
- Combination of T3 and T4 tablets. These pills can provoke adverse effects such as anxiety. In spite of that, some patients do better with this prescription than with just T4.
- Natural hormones from the dried thyroid of pigs or cows. Dried animal thyroid can help to replace insufficient hormones. However, doctors don’t often do this. The problem is that different lots of this can produce a variety of quantities of T3 and T4. As a result, it compromises the health of the patient.