How Do I Know If I Have Hypothyroidism
With Hashimotos thyroiditis, the onset of symptoms is usually very gradual, evolving over months to years. Usually the disease is detected when the patients symptoms are mild, before any profound changes develop. Many people are diagnosed by a blood test before they are even symptomatic. When symptoms do develop, they commonly include low energy, weight gain, intolerance to cold, muscle aches, joint aches, and constipation. Women may note a change in their menstrual periods.
More advanced symptoms include a slowed heart rate, low body temperature, and changes in the skin and nails . The lateral portions of the eyebrows may thin and there may be swelling of the tissues around the eyes.
Rarely, under stress such as a severe acute illness, patients with untreated or inadequately treated hypothyroidism may develop a severe condition called myxedema coma. Often occurring in hypothyroid patients exposed to cold or an infection, these patients experience hypothermia, hallucinations, severe swelling, and slow heart rate. This is a potentially life-threatening condition that must be treated in an intensive care unit.
What Other Foods Should You Avoid When Taking Synthroid
Even if youre not a coffee drinker, there are certain things that can affect how well Synthroid works. According to DailyMed, the following foods can make it harder for your body to absorb Synthroid:
- Cottonseed meal
- Dietary fiber
Examples of foods that are high in dietary fiber include beans, broccoli, apples, berries, avocados, and quinoa.
Grapefruit juice can also inhibit the effectiveness of your medication by potentially decreasing absorption of Synthroid. If you consume these foods, ask your healthcare provider if you can safely continue to do so.
If you have difficulty avoiding these foods throughout the day, your healthcare provider may recommend changing your medication scheduleeven though the manufacturer recommends taking it in the morning. Taking the medication at night means you can easily avoid things that interfere with your thyroid medication, says Dr. Puopolo.
There are two caveats. Its difficult to have an empty stomach for 30 to 60 minutes prior to bedtime, and many people forget to take medication before going to sleep. Thats especially true if your routine is disrupted by a late night or vacation.
What To Do In Case Of Overdose
If you think youve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use their online tool. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away. Dont try to treat the overdose yourself.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Synthroid.
Recommended Reading: Does Graves Disease Go Away After Thyroid Removed
How Long Does It Take To Work
It may take some time for you to feel any difference when youre taking Synthroid.
The drug usually has its maximum effect in your body about 4 to 6 weeks after you start taking it. If you have thyroid-related symptoms, you may notice your symptoms are decreasing within 4 to 6 weeks after starting the drug.
After 4 to 6 weeks of treatment, your doctor will check blood tests to monitor your thyroid. And your doctor may adjust your dosage of Synthroid if needed based on your lab results.
Synthroid And Birth Control
In most cases, youll continue to take Synthroid during pregnancy if you were using the drug before becoming pregnant.
But if youre sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, its still important to talk with your doctor about your birth control needs. Theyll recommend whether you need to use birth control while youre taking Synthroid.
Its important to note that Synthroid may interact with certain birth control drugs. For more information about birth control drugs that may interact with Synthroid, see the Synthroid interactions section above.
Recommended Reading: Apple Cider Vinegar For Thyroid
Side Effects In Children
Children taking Synthroid may have different side effects than do adults taking the drug. For example, some children taking Synthroid have had pseudotumor cerebri . This condition may cause headaches, nausea, and vomiting.
In addition, some children taking Synthroid have had slipped capital femoral epiphysis. This disorder may cause limping or pain in the area thats affected.
This hip condition only occurs in children whose bones are still growing. However, its important to note that having decreased thyroid hormone levels, which Synthroid is used to treat, may also increase the risk of this hip disorder.
Also, certain bone growth problems may occur in infants and children who take too much Synthroid. In this case, an infants skull may become hardened too quickly, causing increased pressure on their brain. And the growth of their skull may also be affected. Other bones in children taking too much Synthroid may also be unable to grow properly. This can lead to growth problems and decreased height.
If you have questions about side effects of Synthroid in a child using the drug, talk with your childs doctor. Theyll discuss with you the risks and benefits of treatment. And they can help prepare you for what to expect from treatment with this drug.
How To Use Synthroid
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually once daily on an empty stomach, 30 minutes to 1 hour before breakfast. Take this medication with a full glass of water unless your doctor directs you otherwise.
If you are taking the capsule form of this medication, swallow it whole. Do not split, crush, or chew. People who cannot swallow the capsule whole should use the tablet form of the medication.
For infants or children who cannot swallow whole tablets, crush the tablet and mix in 1 to 2 teaspoons of water, and give using a spoon or dropper right away. Do not prepare a supply in advance or mix the tablet in soy infant formula. Consult your pharmacist for more information.
Dosage is based on your age, weight, medical condition, laboratory test results, and response to treatment.
Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day.
Do not stop taking this medication without first consulting with your doctor. Thyroid replacement treatment is usually taken for life.
There are different brands of levothyroxine available. Do not change brands without first consulting your doctor or pharmacist.
You May Like: How To Reduce Double Chin Due To Thyroid
Can Lowering The Dosage Of Synthroid Cause Side Effects
Its unlikely that lowering Synthroids dosage causes side effects. But lowering your Synthroid dosage could cause or worsen symptoms of the condition youre taking the drug to treat. This is because if your dosage is lowered, your body may no longer get enough thyroid hormone to help prevent or relieve your symptoms.
If you have other questions about Synthroid dose adjustments and side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
If You Take More Than The Recommended Amount Of Synthroid
Call your doctor right away if you believe youve taken too much Synthroid. Another option is to call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. If you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room.
The Synthroid dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:
- the type and severity of the condition youre using Synthroid to treat
- your age and body weight
- any side effects you have
- your thyroid hormone levels
Other medical conditions you have can also affect your Synthroid dosage.
Read Also: How To Reduce Double Chin Due To Thyroid
Maintaining Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
Both high and low blood sugar levels are potentially harmful to your health, which is why it is mandatory to keep them within a healthy range.
This is particularly important if you have hypothyroidism, thyroid disorder associated with weight gain, high cholesterol, and other symptoms affecting your heart health.
Below, youll find useful tips that will help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels:
Low Thyroid & High Cholesterol
One measurement of thyroid function is a hormone called thyroid-stimulating hormone . Made by a small gland at the base of the brain called the pituitary, TSH tells your thyroid how hard to work.
High TSH levels mean you have an underactive thyroid. Symptoms include:
- Weight gain
- Slow heart rate
Studies show that people with high TSH levels have much higher total cholesterol and LDL levels than people with normal thyroid tests.
Any of these can be fatal.
High cholesterol raises heart disease and stroke risk even more.
Read Also: Apple Cider Vinegar For Thyroid Problems
What To Expect When Starting Synthroid
When you first start taking Synthroid, your doctor will usually test your TSH levelsi every 6 to 8 weeks. Try to be patient during this time. Because your thyroid hormone needs are very precise, your doctor may need to make small adjustments to find the dose thats right for you. And it may take several weeks before you notice Synthroid is working, and for your thyroid levels to adjust to the correct range.
Save on Synthroid
Most patients will pay no more than $25 a month.*
*Eligibility restrictions may apply. Individual insurance plans will vary.
The Link Between Thyroid Disease And Cholesterol
- High cholesterol is linked to hypothyroidism .
- A sudden drop in cholesterol can be a warning sign of hyperthyroidism .
- Treating thyroid disease can correct cholesterol levels.
- Cholesterol drugs can affect thyroid disease and its treatments.
This article talks more about why thyroid disease and high cholesterol are linked, the problems that can cause, and how to manage both conditions at once.
Recommended Reading: Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For Your Thyroid
What If I Miss A Dose
If you miss a dose of Synthroid, take it as soon as you remember. But if its close to the time of your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next scheduled dose as usual. If you arent sure whether to take the missed dose or skip it, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Do not double up on Synthroid doses to make up for a missed dose. Doing this can increase your risk for side effects from the drug.
If you need help remembering to take your dose of Synthroid on time, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm, downloading a reminder app, or setting a timer on your phone. A kitchen timer can work, too.
Dont use more Synthroid than your doctor prescribes. Using more than this can lead to serious side effects, likely due to hyperthyroidism .
How Tsh Levels Change
TSH levels are not very intuitive. Why does a high TSH mean you have an underactive thyroid gland? Why do low levels means the gland is overactive?
Understanding exactly how the thyroid gland works can help.
Your thyroid gland produces thyroid hormone. When it functions properly, your thyroid is part of a feedback loop with your pituitary gland that involves several actions:
First, your pituitary gland senses the level of thyroid hormone that is released into the bloodstream.
Your pituitary then releases the special messenger hormone TSH, which makes the thyroid release more thyroid hormone. From there:
- If your thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone, your pituitary triggers your thyroid to make more.
- If your thyroid is overactive and producing too much thyroid hormone, your pituitary senses that and slows or shuts down TSH production.
Side Effects Of Too Much Levothyroxine
One potential effect of too much levothyroxine that might seem nice is weight loss, but over-replacement with thyroid therapy so your TSH levels become too low is a bad ideaand I see it all the time.
The main risk is atrial fibrillation, a dangerous heart rate abnormality, which occurs three times more often in patients who are on too much levothyroxine. You may also have accelerated bone loss and therefore, a higher risk of fractures.
Why Is This Medication Prescribed
Levothyroxine is used to treat hypothyroidism . It is also used with surgery and radioactive iodine therapy to treat thyroid cancer. Levothyroxine is in a class of medications called hormones. It works by replacing thyroid hormone that is normally produced by the body.
Without thyroid hormone, your body cannot function properly, which may result in poor growth, slow speech, lack of energy, excessive tiredness, constipation, weight gain, hair loss, dry, thick skin, increased sensitivity to cold, joint and muscle pain, heavy or irregular menstrual periods, and depression. When taken correctly, levothyroxine reverses these symptoms.
Also Check: Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For Your Thyroid
Signs And Symptoms Of Overmedication
Signs and symptoms of thyroid hormone overmedication can vary, but some common ones include:
- Elevated pulse and blood pressure
- Anxiety, nervous energy, tremors
- Feeling like your heart is skipping a beat or racing
- Weight loss with no change in your diet/exercise routine
- Increase in food intake with no weight gain
In some cases, symptoms of overmedication can be similar to those of hypothyroidism. You may feel more exhausted than usual, or achy and as if you have the flu you may put on weight, or feel jittery and anxious.
In fact, it’s not unheard of for a person to visit their healthcare provider to get tested, certain that they need an increased dosage, only to discover that their symptoms are actually due to overmedication.
Thyroid Disease Healthcare Provider Discussion Guide
Get our printable guide for your next healthcare provider’s appointment to help you ask the right questions.
How To Take Synthroid
Synthroid comes as tablets that you swallow. You should take Synthroid according to your doctors instructions.
Synthroid should be taken on an empty stomach, once daily. Specifically, it should be taken 30 minutes to 1 hour before or after eating.
Usually, its recommended to take the drug 30 minutes to 1 hour before breakfast. But your doctor may also discuss how to take Synthroid at night. In some cases, your body can absorb the drug better if you take Synthroid at night.
Its important to note that Synthroid should be taken at least 4 hours before, or 4 hours after, certain medications that it can interact with. For more information about drug interactions with Synthroid, refer to this article.
Recommended Reading: How To Reduce Double Chin Due To Thyroid
What Other Information Should I Know
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to thyroid.
Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are taking thyroid.
Thyroid tablets may have a strong odor. This does not mean that the medication is spoiled or that it cannot be used.
Learn the brand name and generic name of your medication. Check your medication each time you have your prescription refilled or receive a new prescription. Do not switch brands without talking to your doctor or pharmacist, as each brand of thyroid contains a slightly different amount of medication.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Can Synthroid Help Relieve Depression Thats Related To Hypothyroidism
For some people, depression may be caused by hypothyroidism. Synthroid treats hypothyroidism by increasing your thyroid hormone levels to a normal range. So if you have depression thats related to low thyroid hormones, Synthroid may help treat your depression.
Be sure and talk with your doctor if you feel depressed. They can discuss with you treatment options that may help improve your moods.
Recommended Reading: How To Reduce Double Chin Due To Thyroid
In People Being Treated For Thyroid Disease
A high TSH may be found in people being treated for either hypo- or hyperthyroidism.
With hypothyroidism, a high TSH usually means that the dose of thyroid hormone replacement needs to be increased.
In some cases, however, the dose is OK, but the medication is not being fully absorbed. For example, many foods and medications can affect the absorption of Synthroid in your system. Learning what to avoid while taking this medication is important for it to work properly.
With hyperthyroidism, a high TSH usually means that the treatmentbe it surgery, radioactive iodine, or medicationswas so effective in limiting the production of thyroid hormone it caused the person to become hypothyroid.
Who Can And Cannot Take Levothyroxine
Levothyroxine can be taken by adults and children. However, levothyroxine is not suitable for some people.
Do not take levothyroxine and go back to your doctor to discuss your treatment if you have:
- had an allergic reaction to levothyroxine or any other medicines in the past
- an overactive thyroid
- a health problem that affects your adrenal glands
Check with your doctor before taking levothyroxine if you have:
- had a heart attack
- diabetes the dose of your diabetes medicine may need to change because levothyroxine can raise blood sugar levels
Read Also: Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For Your Thyroid