Hypothyroidism Treatment Long Island
Hypothyroidism occurs when there is not enough thyroid hormone in the blood stream. This can be the result of impaired function of an intact gland, partial or complete surgical removal of the gland, or ablation of the gland with radioactive iodine.
By far, the most common cause of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in which the body makes antibodies that slowly destroy the gland resulting in diminished or absent function. Hypothyroidism affects up to 10% of American women by age 50.
Symptoms for Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism cause anything from no symptoms to those that are life-threatening.
- Lack of energy or drive
- Weight gain
- Water retention or bloating (also known as myxedema)
- Thinning hair
- Dry skin
- Difficulty concentrating
The symptoms of hypothyroidism are non-specific and can be found with a number of other diseases. While these symptoms may be found in patients with hypothyroidism, the symptoms do not make the diagnosis. The diagnosis of hypothyroidism is made with blood tests and careful evaluation by an experienced physician.
Diagnosis of Hypothyroidism
The diagnosis of hypothyroidism is based on clinical factors and the results of blood tests. Patients with hypothyroidism will have a high thyroid stimulating hormone level (TSH) and a lower than normal thyroid hormone level (T4 and T3). Subclinical hypothyroidism occurs when patients exhibit no signs of symptoms, but have blood tests that confirm an underactive thyroid.
Treatments for Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is most often managed by administering thyroid hormone in a pill form. Patients are usually given T4 (Synthroid or levothyroxine). There are usually minimal side effects or allergic reactions associated with this medication because it is essentially what the body normally produces, just in pill form. In excessively high dosages, patients would have symptoms similar to those of hyperthyroidism. If the dosage is too low, the symptoms of hypothyroidism would remain. It is very important to work closely with a doctor who specializes in the thyroid to determine the correct dosage. The TSH is usually checked 4-6 weeks after the medication is initiated to determine the right dosage. While most patients will do well on a weight-based dose (1.6 mcg/kg), the dose of thyroid hormone required for normal function varies from patient to patient and may need to be adjusted every once in a while by the physician.