Thyroid Disorders Center

Thyroid Treatment

Thyroid treatment
Left untreated, a person who experiences thyroid disorders can become very sick. With low thyroid, as mentioned earlier, the entire body slows down including the heart muscle. For example, a person can become so tired that they will not be able to function. Doctors' choice of treatment will depend on the particular cause of a thyroid disorder and the severity of symptoms but are mainly based on the use of medications or surgery. The goal of treatment for any thyroid disorder is to restore normal blood levels of thyroid hormone and glandular function.

Some lifestyle tips to keep in mind to get the best results when being treated for thyroid disorders:

  • always purchase salt with iodine
  • avoid bathrooms and other humid, hot environments
  • request more frequent thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) testing if you have already had a thyroid problem or have had surgery or radiotherapy affecting the thyroid gland
  • women 35+ should request a TSH test every 5 years

Medications for thyroid disorders can typically correct associated symptoms, and in most cases, an individual will be feeling like their old self within a couple of weeks. Once your doctor has determined a thyroid disorder diagnosis, s/he will order a blood test for them to take every three months. This is done to check the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level in their blood. This helps him/her to decide the correct amount of medication to give a person. Medications for thyroid disorders fall into these general categories:

  • beta blockers
  • thyroid hormone suppression (synthetic thyroxine)
  • thyroid hormone treatment (synthetic T3 or T4 hormones)

Doctors also recommend the following guidelines for thyroid medications:

  • follow directions of medications
  • keep the doctor informed of how you are feeling and any side effects they may be experiencing
  • keep your doctor informed about all prescription and non-prescription medications, including dietary supplements, antacids and vitamins
  • store medicines in a dry place at room temperature
  • take thyroid medications consistently at about the same time every day

Radioiodine treatment
Doses of radioiodine damage or destroy thyroid cells that make thyroid hormones. If you have been diagnosed with nodules that are making too much of the thyroid hormones, radioiodine treatment can cause the nodules to shrink and make smaller amounts of thyroid hormones. Or a larger dose of radioiodine can destroy thyroid cancer cells with little or no damage to other parts of the body.

The main treatment for thyroid cancer is to remove the entire thyroid gland, or as much of it as can be safely removed. Often, surgery alone will cure thyroid cancer, especially if the cancer is small. Surgery is also considered the best option for people with large multinodular goiters, particularly when the goiters constrict airways, the esophagus or blood vessels. And in cases of thyroid nodule development, doctors may order the surgical removal of some or most of the thyroid.

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