post-image05

Thyroid Hormone Replacement Therapy for Hypothyroidism

Thyroid is one of most important glands in human body and one of the biggest ones. It is responsible for metabolism, which can be directly related to weight issues. It also adjusts how the body responds to other hormones. In young people thyroid is responsible for growth and development.

There are many other functions regulated by thyroid, which reach their peaks depending on the phase of life.

Thyroid related complications are one of the most common diseases treated with hormone replacement therapy. Patients with surgically removed thyroid require daily supply of thyroid hormones for the rest of their lives. Other patients with affected thyroid hormones production may need some replacement hormones.

There are two main groups of complications related to thyroid hormone levels.

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism causes the thyroid to overproduce hormones resulting in increased metabolic rate. There is a number of side effects like rapid weight loss, muscle weakness, excessive sweating, hart rate irregularities, diarrhea, blood pressure issues, sudden mood changes, problems with body temperature and many other symptoms.

Hyperthyroidism treatment consist of limiting or stopping overproduction of hormones first by using beta blockers and eventually by destroying the thyroid from the inside by using radioactive iodine. In severe cases surgery is necessary to remove defunct gland.

Usually after the treatment patients have insufficient amount of hormones which need to be replaced during hormone therapy. Usually patients will take hormones for the rest of their lives.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism relates to decreased production of thyroid hormones caused by abnormalities or as a result of Hyperthyroidism treatment. The side effects of hormone deficiency may include rapid weight gain fatigue, hair loss, intolerance to cold conditions, and critically lowered heart rate.

In these cases hormone replacement therapy uses synthetic hormones, like levothyroxine, carefully dosed and monitored by physician for any side effects. Those side effects may indicate too much or too little hormone and should disappear shortly after the dose is adjusted. Hypothyroidism can lead to increased risk of heart diseases and high cholesterol.

Statistics indicate that thyroid diseases affect 10 times more women than men. On average one of 50 people is affected by thyroid related complications. Many of the symptoms can be related to post-pregnancy period when thyroid may not restore normal hormone output.

Another reason for thyroid problems is the autoimmune system which incorrectly recognises thyroid tissue and attack is, this in turns stimulates the thyroid to increase hormone production.

Thyroid complications are commonly regarded . The problems can come from malnutrition, early childhood treatments, genetic conditions or external stimulants from working conditions.

The treatment principles are quite simple, stop overproduction or replace missing hormones. However specific thyroid related diseases are treated individually and will depend on the severity of symptoms. In many cases medication is enough to address the issue, but in case of large overgrowth or thyroid cancer, a surgery is required to partially or completely remove thyroid. Hormone replacement therapy is necessary after removal.

Patients recover relatively quickly when hormone levels are restored supplemented by synthetic hormone. Besides the regular hormone dose patients may require daily supplement of vitamin D and calcium.

professional resources

Continuing Medical Education