HYPOTHYROIDISM –MANAGEMENT

The main goals for treating hypothyroidism is to

  • restore normal blood levels of thyroid hormone
  • prevent complications
  • educate the person to identify the warning signs of the disease in early stage

Treatment

  • The deficiency of thyroid hormone (T3, T4) in the body is to be compensated by Thyroid hormone preparations in hypothyroidism. Amongst these synthetic L-thyroxine (Levothyroxine) sodium is the agent of choice. While the symptoms of hypothyroidism are usually corrected within a few months, many patients may need to take the medication for the rest of their lives.
    • The starting dose of Levothyroxine should be decided in consultation with the physician after which the drug has to be maintained or increased as per need.
    • Maintenance therapy : It is important as most of the time the therapy must be continued for life. The maintenance dose for patient is decided after individual clinical assessment.
  • Myxedema coma is a medical emergency and must be treated rapidly.

Prevention

Hypothyroidism if detected early helps in prevention of development of prominent symptoms later on. Thyroid stimulating hormone test can be used as a screening test for mild hypothyroidism. This hormone (TSH) is extremely sensitive to the body’s need for thyroid hormone. When T3 and T4 levels are too low, TSH levels shoot up to compensate for the deficiency by a feedback mechanism. Thus, a high TSH level indicates that all is not well with the thyroid gland.

Education

Many people remain undiagnosed and untreated for years due to their lack of awareness of hypothyroidism and its signs and symptoms. Hence it becomes essential to educate people to identify the early warning signs and symptoms of Hypothyroidism. If these symptoms are noticed it is better to take professional medical advice rather than neglecting the problem outrightly:

  • Feeling tired and listless
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Hoarseness
  • Cold intolerance
  • Hair fall
  • Constipation
  • Heavy bleeding during the periods in females
  • Mood swings