If your thyroid is working properly, you probably don’t pay much attention to it. While many people may take the gland for granted, your thyroid is very important to your overall health and sense of well-being. Your thyroid secretes numerous hormones which are referred to as “thyroid hormones,” as you would expect.
Thyroid hormones are active throughout your body. They influence many bodily functions, including your metabolism, growth, heart rate, development, body temperature and your ability to think quickly. In babies and children, sufficient thyroid hormone levels are crucial for the development of the brain.
There are several disorders that can affect your thyroid, including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. While these conditions aren’t deadly, they can influence the quality of your life dramatically if they’re left untreated.
Thyroid replacement therapy is often the protocol doctors will follow to address a problem with someone’s thyroid. If your doctor has recommended thyroid replacement therapy for you, you might have many questions about the course of treatment. Keep reading to learn five things you should know before you undergo thyroid replacement therapy.
What’s the Point of Thyroid Replacement Therapy?
Your thyroid secretes two primary hormones, T3 and T4. To put it simply, these hormones dictates how your body uses energy. When you don’t have enough of these hormones, your metabolic rate will drop, which will cause your body to take longer to process food, slow your heart rate and impair your body’s ability to generate heat, among other consequences. If your thyroid produces too much of T3 and T4, it can have the opposite effects on your body.
The goal of thyroid replacement therapy is to regulate the amount of thyroid hormones in your body so that your thyroid hormone levels are normal or as close to normal as possible. When your thyroid levels are normal, your body will be able to function at a more optimal level and your general sense of well-being will improve.
How Many People Have a Problem with Their Thyroid?
Looking at hypothyroidism alone, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists estimates that 25 million people have some form of the condition. While it’s suspected that only half of affected people have been diagnosed, it’s estimated that hypothyroidism affects 10 percent of women and six percent of men.
What Causes Thyroid Disorders?
Thyroid disorders can be the result of several things or a combination of them. Here are some of the things that may cause a thyroid disorder:
- Family history of thyroid problems
- Too much or too little iodine consumption
- Pituitary gland abnormalities
- Autoimmune diseases such as lupus or type one diabetes
- Turner syndrome
- Radiation treatment to the thyroid, neck or chest
- Giving birth within the last six months
Why Is Thyroid Replacement Treatment Necessary?
Even if you understand the point of thyroid replacement therapy, you may question whether it’s really necessary, especially if you’ve only been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder recently. In the early stages, a thyroid condition often doesn’t cause you to experience symptoms that can become more apparent down the line, such as fatigue, unintentional weight gain or loss and elevated cholesterol levels.
If left untreated, a thyroid disorder can cause bigger health problems. These issues may include infertility, heart problems and joint pain. An untreated thyroid condition can take a toll on your mental health as well by causing you to become depressed.
How Is Thyroid Replacement Therapy Administered?
While treatment and dosages can vary greatly by patient, thyroid replacement therapy is typically administered in pill form. In general, your doctor will prescribe a pill that will influence the amount of T4 that’s in your body, although some treatments may involve a supplement of T3 as well. If your thyroid has been completely removed, it’s even more likely that your treatment plan will include both T4 and T3 supplements.
Schedule an Appointment with Passer Restorative Therapies
If you’re concerned that you may have a thyroid problem, make an appointment with Passer Restorative Therapies. We’ll conduct a thorough exam and test you for thyroid disorders. We’ll discuss which thyroid replacement therapy is the best for you if you have a disorder and we’ll explain how the treatment will restore your health and well-being. Learn more about our thyroid replacement therapy now.