How Is Thyroid Disease Treated
Your healthcare providers goal is to return your thyroid hormone levels to normal. This can be done in a variety of ways and each specific treatment will depend on the cause of your thyroid condition.
If you have high levels of thyroid hormones , treatment options can include:
- Anti-thyroid drugs : These are medications that stop your thyroid from making hormones.
- Radioactive iodine: This treatment damages the cells of your thyroid, preventing it from making high levels of thyroid hormones.
- Beta blockers: These medications dont change the amount of hormones in your body, but they help control your symptoms.
- Surgery: A more permanent form of treatment, your healthcare provider may surgically remove your thyroid . This will stop it from creating hormones. However, you will need to take thyroid replacement hormones for the rest of your life.
If you have low levels of thyroid hormones , the main treatment option is:
- Thyroid replacement medication: This drug is a synthetic way to add thyroid hormones back into your body. One drug thats commonly used is called levothyroxine. By using a medication, you can control thyroid disease and live a normal life.
Treating An Underactive Thyroid
Treatment for an underactive thyroid involves taking daily hormone replacement tablets, called levothyroxine, to raise your thyroxine levels.
You’ll initially have regular blood tests until the correct dose of levothyroxine is reached. This can take a little while to get right.
Once you’re taking the correct dose, you’ll usually have a blood test once a year to monitor your hormone levels.
You’ll usually need treatment for the rest of your life. However, with proper treatment, you should be able to lead a normal, healthy life.
What Are The Complications Of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism can contribute to high cholesterol. If you have high cholesterol, you should get tested for hypothyroidism. Rarely, severe untreated hypothyroidism may lead to myxedema coma, an extreme form of hypothyroidism in which the bodys functions slow to a life-threatening point. Myxedema coma requires immediate medical treatment.
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How Long Does It Take To Recover From Thyroid Surgery
It will take your body a few weeks to recover after your thyroid is surgically removed . During this time you should avoid a few things, including:
- Submerging your incision under water.
- Lifting an object thats heavier than 15 pounds.
- Doing more than light exercise.
This generally lasts for about two weeks. After that, you can return to your normal activities.
How Does My Thyroid Work
The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped organ located in the front of your neck just under the voice box . Picture the middle of the butterflys body centered on your neck, with the wings hugging around your windpipe . The main job of the thyroid is to control your metabolism. Metabolism is the process that your body uses to transform food to energy your body uses to function. The thyroid creates the hormones T4 and T3 to control your metabolism. These hormones work throughout the body to tell the bodys cells how much energy to use. They control your body temperature and heart rate.
When your thyroid works correctly, its constantly making hormones, releasing them and then making new hormones to replace whats been used. This keeps your metabolism functioning and all of your bodys systems in check. The amount of thyroid hormones in the bloodstream is controlled by the pituitary gland, which is located in the center of the skull below the brain. When the pituitary gland senses either a lack of thyroid hormone or too much, it adjusts its own hormone and sends it to the thyroid to balance out the amounts.
If the amount of thyroid hormones is too high or too low , the entire body is impacted.
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What Is An Underactive Thyroid
Hypothyroidism, by contrast, stems from an underproduction of thyroid hormones. Since your body’s energy production requires certain amounts of thyroid hormones, a drop in hormone production leads to lower energy levels, causing you to feel weak and tired.
Approximately 25 million people suffer with hypothyroidism and about half are undiagnosed. Older adults — particularly women — are more likely to develop hypothyroidism than younger adults. Hypothyroidism also tends to run in families.
If hypothyroidism is not treated, it can raise your cholesterol levels and make you more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. During pregnancy, untreated hypothyroidism can harm your baby. Luckily, hypothyroidism is easy to treat.
Causes of hypothyroidism may include:
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: In this autoimmune disorder, the body attacks thyroid tissue. The tissue eventually dies and stops producing hormones. Other autoimmune disorders occur with this condition and other family members may also be affected by this condition.
Removal of the thyroid gland: The thyroid may be surgically removed or chemically destroyed as treatment for hyperthyroidism.
Exposure to excessive amounts of iodide: The heart medicine amiodarone may expose you to too much iodine. Radioactive iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism can also result in hypothyroidism. You may be at greater risk for developing hypothyroidism, especially if you have had thyroid problems in the past.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism
Symptoms of hypothyroidism develop slowly, often over several years. At first, you may feel tired and sluggish. Later, you may develop other signs and symptoms of a slowed-down metabolism, including:
- Feeling cold when other people do not
- A hoarse voice
- More than usual menstrual bleeding
You also may have high LDL or “bad” cholesterol, which can raise your risk for .
How Much Sleep Do You Need
You feel like youre always going to bed early, but when your alarm goes off, its hard to open your eyes and youre in a fog all day. You may feel like no matter how much sleep youre getting, youre still tired. But how do you know how much sleep you need?
How much sleep you need varies by age. While newborns under three-months-old may need up to 19 hours of sleep and adults over 65 may need as little as five hours, most adults need about seven to nine hours of sleep a night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. While;not getting enough sleep can hurt your health in these sneaky ways, oversleeping and constantly being tired can be a sign of a problem.
Oversleeping means that you are sleeping for more than 10 hours on a consistent basis, says;Conor Heneghan, PhD, director of research and algorithms at Fitbit. Oversleeping has been correlated with certain health conditions, such as depression, but it is not a known cause of any health disorders. While irregularities in the bodys sleep clock may play a role in mood, returning to a consistent sleep cycle is a focus area to get the body back on track.
If youre getting enough sleep on a good schedule or are even oversleeping and still feel tired, it could be a sign of health problems.
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What Is An Overactive Thyroid
Hyperthyroidism happens when the thyroid becomes overactive and produces too much of its hormones. Hyperthyroidism affects women five times to 10 times more often than men, and is most common in people younger than 40. People with hyperthyroidism have problems that reflect over activity of the body’s organs, resulting in such symptoms as sweating, feeling hot, rapid heartbeat, weight loss, and sometimes eye problems.
Hyperthyroidism can occur in several ways:
Toxic adenomas: Nodules develop in the thyroid gland and begin to secrete thyroid hormones, upsetting the body’s chemical balance. Some goiters may contain several of these nodules.
Subacute thyroiditis: Painful inflammation of the thyroid causes the gland to enlarge and “leak” excess hormones, resulting in temporary hyperthyroidism, which resolves spontaneously. Subacute thyroiditis generally lasts a few weeks but may persist for months.
Pituitary gland malfunctions or cancerous growths in the thyroid gland: Although rare, hyperthyroidism can also develop from these causes.
Silent thyroiditis: This is usually a temporary state of excess thyroid hormone release causing mild hyperthyroidism. In some cases it can result in permanent damage to the thyroid and low thyroid hormone production by the gland.
Who Is More Likely To Develop Hyperthyroidism
Women are 2 to 10 times more likely than men to develop hyperthyroidism.2 You are more likely to have hyperthyroidism if you
- have a family history of thyroid disease
- have other health problems, including
- pernicious anemia, a condition caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency
- primary adrenal insufficiency, a hormonal disorder
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Too Much Thyroid Hormone Medicine
Some people who take thyroid hormone medicine for hypothyroidism may take too much. If you take thyroid hormone medicine, you should see your doctor at least once a year to have your thyroid hormone levels checked. You may need to adjust your dose if your thyroid hormone level is too high.
Some other medicines may also interact with thyroid hormone medicine to raise hormone levels. If you take thyroid hormone medicine, ask your doctor about interactions when starting new medicines.
How Is Thyroid Disease Diagnosed
Sometimes, thyroid disease can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are easily confused with those of other conditions. You may experience similar symptoms when you are pregnant or aging and you would when developing a thyroid disease. Fortunately, there are tests that can help determine if your symptoms are being caused by a thyroid issue. These tests include:
- Blood tests.
- Physical exams.
One of the most definitive ways to diagnose a thyroid problem is through blood tests. Thyroid blood tests are used to tell if your thyroid gland is functioning properly by measuring the amount of thyroid hormones in your blood. These tests are done by taking blood from a vein in your arm. Thyroid blood tests are used to see if you have:
The specific blood tests that will be done to test your thyroid can include:
These tests alone arent meant to diagnose any illness but may prompt your healthcare provider to do additional testing to evaluate for a possible thyroid disorder.
Additional blood tests might include:
Talk to your healthcare provider about the ranges for these thyroid blood tests. Your ranges might not be the same as someone elses. Thats often alright. If you have any concerns or worries about your blood test results, talk to your provider.
An ultrasound typically takes about 20 to 30 minutes.
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Thyroid Disease: A Checklist Of Skin Hair And Nail Changes
Although your thyroid gland sits deep in your neck, your dermatologist may be the first doctor to notice signs of thyroid disease. Thats because many signs and symptoms of thyroid disease develop on the skin, hair, and nails.
The thyroid gland
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that produces hormones, which play a key role in regulating your heartbeat, breathing, and many other functions.
You, too, may also be able to spot thyroid disease, and thats important. Caught early, treatment can prevent complications. When thyroid disease goes untreated for years, it can lead to a dangerously slow heartbeat, an injury that refuses to heal, or unrelenting pain. You may have gained or lost weight for no apparent reason.
To help you find early signs of thyroid disease on your skin, hair, and nails, heres a checklist.
What Is Postpartum Thyroiditis
Postpartum thyroiditis, or inflammation of the thyroid after giving birth, affects 10% of women. It often goes undiagnosed because symptoms are much like the “baby blues” that may follow delivery. Women with postpartum thyroiditis may feel very tired and moody.
Postpartum thyroiditis typically happens in two phases, though not everyone with the condition goes through both phases:
- The first phase starts 1 to 4 months after giving birth and typically last 1 to 2 months. In this phase, you may have because the damaged thyroid leaks thyroid hormones out into the bloodstream.
- The second phase starts about 4 to 8 months after delivery and lasts 6 to 12 months. In this phase, you may have because the thyroid has lost most of its hormones or because the immune attack is over and the thyroid may recover later.
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Can Your Thyroid Cause Sleep Problems
Thyroid imbalances have been linked to sleep problems. Hyperthyroidism can cause difficulty sleeping due to arousals from nervousness or irritability, as well as muscle weakness and constant feelings of tiredness. An overactive thyroid may also lead to night sweats and frequent urges to urinate, both of which can disrupt sleep.
People with hypothyroidism , on the other hand, often experience trouble tolerating cold at night and joint or muscle pain that disrupts sleep. Some studies have linked an underactive thyroid to poor quality sleep, longer sleep onset or the time it takes to fall asleep and shorter sleep duration during the night. Younger people, individuals with a relatively low body mass index, and women are all considered at higher risk of developing sleep problems due to hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism can also cause hypersomnia, or the irrepressible need to sleep or lapses into sleep that occur on a daily basis. Hypersomnia can occur due to an underlying medical disorder, and hypothyroidism is considered the leading cause of hypersomnia due to a disorder in the endocrine system. Additionally, untreated hypothyroidism can be mistaken for sleep-related hypoventilation, or excessively slow or shallow breathing that occurs primarily during sleep.
How Is Hypothyroidism Or Hyperthyroidism Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and do a physical exam. Then they will order blood tests to see how much thyroid hormone your body is making. In addition, your doctor may discover that you have hyperthyroidism while doing a test for another reason.
Signs and Symptoms of a Thyroid Problem:
- You may feel nervous, moody, weak, or tired.
- Your hands may shake, your heart may beat fast, or you may have problems breathing.
- You may be sweaty or have warm, red, itchy skin.
- You may have more bowel movements than usual.
- You may have fine, soft hair that is falling out.
- You may feel tired, weak, and/or depressed.
- You may have dry skin and brittle nails.
- You may have difficulty standing cold temperatures.
- You may have constipation.
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What Causes An Overactive Thyroid Gland
The thyroid gland is found in the neck. It produces hormones that are released into the bloodstream to control the body’s growth and metabolism. These hormones are called thyroxine and triiodothyronine.
They affect processes such as heart rate and body temperature, and help convert food into energy to keep the body going.
In hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland produces too much thyroxine or triiodothyronine, which speeds up the body’s metabolism.
There are several possible underlying causes, the most common being Graves’ disease, in which the body’s immune system targets the thyroid gland and causes it to produce too much of the thyroid hormones.
Seek Treatment Based On Thyroid Function Status Not Perceptions
“Patients should also know that the TSH levels that are on listed on websites as normal or abnormal may refer only to specific age ranges. There is a wide difference between what is acceptable for a 30-year-old than for a 60-year-old. While 2.5 mlU/L is a great level for the former, 6 mIU/L is fine for the latter,” Dr. Hennessy adds.
Age is only one of the factors that I rely on in evaluating whether or not a patient would benefit from thyroid replacement therapy, says Deena Adimoolam, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.;
We need to assess the patient based on her overall clinical situation history of symptoms, physical examination, comorbidities, other medsand lab values, specifically thyroid function tests, keeping in mind that these tests, specifically the TSH, will change with age in making a determination to treat or not to treat.
While you might feel certain that you have hypothyroidism and insist that your doctor give you levothyroxine , according to Dr. Hennessey, physicians must resist these entreaties and instead should offer you alternatives to address your concerns.
Should you experience a change your health status, such as taking new or different medications or doses, experiencing new life circumstances, such as pregnancy, these may warrant a fresh evaluation of your thyroid function levels, Dr. Adimoolam says.
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