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What is the Best Treatment for Thyroid? How it Works?

Hypothyroidism is a fairly common condition. Roughly 4.6% trusted source of survey done on individuals aged 12 years old and up have hypothyroidism. The disease gets more common with age. People over 60 years old experience it more frequently. Women are more likely to have an underactive thyroid. In fact, 1 in 8 women will develop hypothyroidism.

Common signs & symptoms

The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism vary from person to person. The severity of the condition also affects which signs and symptoms appear and when. The symptoms are also sometimes difficult to identify.

Early symptoms can include weight gain and fatigue. Both become more common as you age, regardless of your thyroid’s health. You may not realize that these changes are related to your thyroid until more symptoms appear.

The most common signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • fatigue
  • weight gain
  • Puffy & sensitive face
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Feeling cold
  • Decreased sweating
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Elevated blood cholesterol
  • Dry skin
  • Thinning and dry hair
  • Impaired memory
  • Fertility difficulties
  • Menstrual changes
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Aches
  • Tenderness
  • Pain and stiffened joints
  • Hoarseness

Causes of hypothyroidism

Let’s talk about the common causes of hypothyroidism:

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

Your immune system is designed to protect your body’s cells against invading bacteria and viruses. When unknown bacteria or viruses enter your body, your immune system responds by sending out fighter cells to destroy the foreign cells.

Sometimes, your body confuses normal, healthy cells for invading cells. This is called an autoimmune response. If the autoimmune response isn’t regulated or treated, your immune system can attack healthy tissues. This can causes serious medical issues, including conditions such as hypothyroidism.

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition and the most common cause of an underactive thyroid in the United States. This disease attacks your thyroid gland and causes chronic thyroid inflammation. The inflammation can reduce thyroid function.

Treatment for hyperthyroidism

If your thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, you have a condition known as hyperthyroidism. Treatment for this condition aims to reduce and normalize thyroid hormone production.

Sometimes, treatment can cause the levels of your thyroid hormone to remain low permanently. This often occurs after treatment with radioactive iodine.

  1. Surgical removal of your thyroid

    If your entire thyroid gland is removed as a result of thyroid problems, you’ll develop hypothyroidism. Using thyroid medication for the rest of your life is the primary treatment.

    If only a portion of the gland is removed, your thyroid may still be able to produce enough hormones on its own. Blood tests will help determine how much thyroid medication you’ll need.

  2. Radiation therapy

    If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer of the head or neck, lymphoma or leukemia, you may have undergone radiation therapy. Radiation used for the treatment of these conditions may slow or halt the production of thyroid hormone. This will almost always lead to hypothyroidism.

  3. Medications

    Several medicines may lower thyroid hormone production, leading to hypothyroidism. These include ones used to treat psychological conditions, cancer, or heart disease, such as:

    • Lithium
    • mitotane (Lysodren), an adrenal cancer medication
    • interleukin-2 (IL-2)
    • amiodarone (Pacerone), an antiarrhythmic drug

What alternative treatments may help hypothyroidism?

Animal extracts that contain thyroid hormone are available. These extracts come from the thyroid glands of pigs. They contain both T4 and triiodothyronine (T3).

If you take levothyroxine, you’re only receiving T4. However, that’s all you need because your body is capable of producing T3 from the synthetic T4.

These alternative animal extracts often contain inconsistent amounts of each hormone, and studies haven’t shown them to be better than levothyroxine. For these reasons, they aren’t routinely recommended.

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