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Personal stories about treatment for hyperthyroidism

These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and people who have had hyperthyroidism. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.

Harry, age 63 : Who would have thought that the symptoms I was having were caused by my thyroid gland? I thought that they were just part of growing older. But after I decided to pay attention and wrote down how I felt and told my nurse practitioner, she did blood tests that showed that I had an overactive thyroid gland. Then she referred me to a doctor for treatment. I have never been a guy who liked to take medication, so I opted to take radioactive iodine. I like the idea that I only had to take it once and then it was over and done with. Now I take thyroid hormone every day, but it’s easy to take and I just see my doctor once or twice a year for monitoring.

Jesse, age 52 : Some people tell me that taking radioactive iodine is the best treatment for my thyroid condition. But I don't like the idea of taking something that's radioactive. Maybe I am too cautious. My doctor tells me that the amount of radioactive iodine is so small that it doesn't cause problems. I just can't get past that word "radioactive." I have decided to take antithyroid medications. I don't think I'll have a problem with them. I have a pretty regular kind of life and take vitamins every day, so remembering to take another pill won't make a big difference to me.

Emilia, age 45 : I took antithyroid medication for my overactive thyroid about 2 years ago. I had trouble remembering to take the pills every day, and sometimes when I would go out of town to visit my family, I would forget to take my pills with me. Now, my thyroid is acting up again. I don't want to mess with pills. I worry that I might get some of those side effects from taking medications. I have decided to take radioactive iodine. I know that I have a risk of developing hypothyroidism because of this treatment, but I am willing to take thyroid hormone pills if that happens.

Penny, age 35 : My neighbor Geraldo took radioactive iodine for his overactive thyroid gland, and his thyroid gland became underactive. So now he has to take thyroid hormones. I guess I'll just skip the radioactive iodine and take pills. Besides, my doctor tells me that because of my age I might even be able to stop taking the pills and never have to take them again. That sounds good to me.

Author Caroline Rea, RN, BS, MS
Editor Maria G. Essig, MS, ELS
Associate Editor Pat Truman, MATC
Primary Medical Reviewer Caroline S. Rhoads, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology & Metabolism
Last Updated December 3, 2007

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 03, 2007
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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