Hypothyroidism can be treated easily and inexpensively with daily thyroid hormone (T4). This treatment supplies the hormone missing in the body and allows organs to return to a proper level of stimulation. Symptoms that had been distressing improve or disappear after hormone therapy has been begun.
Persons with hypothyroidism should remain aware of the symptoms of both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism so that they can alert their doctors if symptoms of either of these thyroid problems appear.
- Symptoms of hyperthyroidism occur when the body's need for thyroid hormone decreases, and the previously correct dose becomes excessive. Changes that the individual might notice include a feeling of nervousness, a rapid heartbeat, intolerance of hot environments, and diarrhea.
- Symptoms of hypothyroidism occur when the body's need for thyroid hormone increases, and the previously correct dose becomes inadequate. Changes that the individual might notice include feelings of physical and mental fatigue, a slowed heartbeat, intolerance of cold, and constipation.
Because thyroid hormone is simply a replacement for hormone no longer produced in the body, treatment does not require an individual to change lifestyle, give up alcohol, or make other changes. However, all individuals, regardless of gender or age, who take medications in addition to their thyroid hormone, should discuss the possibility of drug interactions with their doctors.
Some medications interfere with absorption of thyroid hormone from the digestive tract into the blood; such interference can keep the blood level of thyroid hormone low enough that symptoms of hypothyroidism continue or reappear. Two commonly used drugs that can interfere with thyroid hormone absorption are
- Cholestyramine, used for reduction of blood
- Sucralfate, used in peptic ulcer disorders
If these drugs are required, they can be taken several hours apart from the thyroid hormone tablet. Also, iron and calcium supplements may interfere with thyroid hormone absorption. These too may be taken several hours apart from the thyroid hormone medication.
Nice To Know:
Exercise is important to maintain health, but many people with hypothyroidism lack the energy to exercise. One expert suggests splitting exercise into several short sessions.