Treatment of hypothyroidism

Mar 18, 2012 , Tereza Kratochvílová

hypotyreoza-lecba.jpg - kopie
hypotyreoza-lecba.jpg - kopie
The decreased function of the thyroid gland, hypothyroidism, is a fairly common disease, afflicting mainly women. Today, the treatment of hypothyroidism is of high quality and most patients live entirely normal lives after starting their treatment. Problems may however occur in patient who do not follow their treatment and allow their symptoms to develop into a full fledged myxedematic coma, which can directly endanger their lives.

Treatment of hypothyroidism

The treatment of hypothyroidism is aimed on the location of the disease, the thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism is the medical term for a decreased function of this gland, which produces less hormones as a result. This significantly influences many organs of the body, which are entirely dependent on thyroid hormones. The most common cause of hypothyroidism is a chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland, known as the Hashimoto's disease. Hypothyrodism afflicts around 1% percent of population. It is 5% of population above 60 years of age.

Thyroid gland

The thyroid gland influences practically all processes in the human body with its hormones, triiodothyronine (T3 for short) and tetraiodothyronine (thyroxine or T4). These hormones are absolutely indispensable for the body. They control metabolic processes, participate in managing energy, heat, their effect influences the growth of organism and the development of organs. A sufficient supply of iodine in diet is important for the production of these hormones in the thyroid gland. The amount of hormones the thyroid gland releases into the bloodstream is controlled by another hormone, called thyrotropin or TSH. Thyrotropin is produced in the hypophysis. Therefore, a supply of thyrotropin, of iodine and a healthy thyroid gland are all required for maintaining the correct level of thyroid hormones. If even one of these three requirements is not met, the thyroid gland will produce smaller or even no amounts of hormones. This state is called hypothyroidism. It is a serious condition, which is why treatment is needed.

Diagnostics of hypothyroidism

In order for your doctor to be able to diagnose you with a lack of thyroid hormones and subsequently begin treatment of hypothyroidism, a general examination and a blood sample, used to determine the concentration of thyroid hormones and TSH, is needed. Hypothyroidism is always signified by a low level of both triiodothyronine (T3) and tetraiodothyronine (T4). If the amount of thyrotropin (TSH) is low as well, the cause of hypothyroidism is the incorrect function of the hypophysis. If, on the other hand, the level of TSH is increased, the cause of hypothyroidism is a disease of the thyroid gland or a lack of iodine in diet. The treatment of hypothyroidism is entirely dependent on the diagnosis, medication cannot be described only based on judgment. Although before the most common cause of hypothyroidism was the lack of iodine in diet, which is then brought into the thyroid gland and used to produce hormones, today it is the Hashimoto's disease, which is an autoimmune inflammation. 

Treatment of hypothyroidism

Treatment of hypothyroidism is neither taxing nor painful. The treatment is done by a specialist, an endocrinologist. Whatever the cause of lower levels of hormones, it is necessary to raise these levels to their normal value by supplying hormones from the outside. Drugs containing the thyroid hormones are prescribed to the patient, to be taken for a long time, usually for the rest of his life. Only small doses are used at the start of the treatment are are gradually increased up to the dosage needed to reach the correct levels of hormones. Frequent visits to the doctor and blood testing are required to set the correct dosage.

Diet changes during hypothyroidism treatment

A successful treatment of hypothyroidism depends to a great degree on a cooperation between the doctor and the patient. If you suffer from hypothyroidism, it is extremely important to maintain regular examinations and follow the doctor's instructions on drug usage. Neglecting your own treatment in any way will cause you a series of unpleasant complications. You can do a lot for your health by avoiding excessive physical and mental stress and having plenty of rest. A change of diet is also very beneficial during the treatment of hypothyroidism. Your diet should contain food with high content of iodine, such as seafood. Your doctor can also recommend you diet supplements containing iodine. You should avoid greasy food. It is also advised to avoid consuming food which influences the thyroid gland, strumigens. An example of these are Brussels sprouts, cabbage or broccoli.

Hypothyroidism risk factors

The amount of thyroid gland diseases is currently on the rise. The greatest risk group are women above the age of 40, but other people are affected as well. If any thyroid gland disease occurs in your family, you should inform your doctor, who will then monitor your thyroid hormone levels in the long therm. This will help you avoid many unpleasant symptoms and make for a simpler treatment in the case of any disease. If you are already diagnosed with hypothyroidism, you need to take a great care for your health. You can life a full life if you correctly maintain your treatment.

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