Sunday, June 25, 2006

symptom thyroid : Treatment for Thyroid Disorder

Treatment for thyroid disorder depends upon the type of condition.

Hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone)

Hypothyroidism, including Hashimoto's thyroiditis, is the simplest of the three types of thyroid disorders to treat. The current method of treatment for hypothyroidism is some form of daily thyroid hormone replacement that provides either T3 or T4, or a combination of the two. The most commonly prescribed thyroid therapy is the T4 medication levothyroxine or
L-thyroxine, with brand names such as Synthroid®, Levothroid®, or Levoxyl®. Synthetic T3 is available as Cytomel®.

Another alternative is natural thyroid therapy, which is desiccated (or dried) animal thyroid, with brand names such as Armour® thyroid. Some practitioners believe the natural thyroid more closely resembles the entire range of human thyroid hormones, including both T3 and T4, as well as other potentially active thyroid hormones. Other healthcare professionals discourage the use of desiccated thyroid, believing it produces variable blood levels of thyroid hormones, not the steady and predictable levels needed for optimal health.

Those with hypothyroidism take T4 for the rest of their lives and, most likely, will need occasional changes in the dosage as well as periodic blood tests. There are many factors that can impair conversion of T4 to T3, and a significant number of patients do not convert T4 to T3 at a sufficient rate (or at all), necessitating a treatment that combines both hormones. Thyroid hormone medications can be individually compounded to include both T3 and T4, however, finding the dose that is right for you may take time.

Hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone)

Radioactive iodine, antithyroid drugs and surgery are all effective treatments for hyperthyroidism and you should discuss these options with your health care professional to help decide which treatment is best for you. Treatment factors to be considered by your healthcare provider include your age, general health and the severity of the condition.

Because iodine is needed to produce thyroid hormone, the most common treatment for hyperthyroidism is administration of a dose of radioactive iodine. After the dose is given, the gland shrinks and the blood levels of thyroid hormone drop over several weeks.

Some hyperthyroid patients are given antithyroid drugs such as propylthiouracil (PTU) or methimazole (Tapazole). These drugs are designed to interfere with the thyroid gland's uptake of iodine.

Surgery to remove part of the overactive thyroid gland is occasionally recommended for treatment of hyperthyroidism.

Many patients treated for hyperthyroidism become hypothyroid so it is important to be aware of the symptoms of hypothyroidism (depression, low body temperature, dry or itchy skin, poor memory, muscle aches, slowed reflexes, among other symptoms) and get additional proper treatment.

Copyright © 2006 Women's Health America, Inc. All rights reserved.

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