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Thyroid Hormone Replacement for Hypothyroidism

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Topic Overview

Thyroid hormones help regulate the way the body uses energy. You need thyroid hormone replacement when you do not have enough thyroid hormones in your blood (hypothyroidism). Depending on the cause of your hypothyroidism, you may need to take thyroid hormones for the rest of your life.

Thyroid hormones are usually taken by mouth. How much you need depends on your age, your body weight, and whether you are pregnant.

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Overactive Thyroid (Hyperthyroidism)

Hyperthyroidism is a disorder in which your thyroid gland makes and releases more thyroid hormone than your body needs. Your doctor may say you have an "overactive thyroid," or refer to the condition as "overactive thyroid disease." Your thyroid gland is located in the front of your neck. Hormones released by the thyroid affect nearly every part of your body from your brain to your skin and muscles. They play a crucial role in controlling how your body uses energy, a process called metabolism...

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Thyroid hormone replacement is the only way to treat hypothyroidism. For most people, taking a thyroid hormone medicine:

  • Reduces or stops the symptoms of hypothyroidism.
  • Allows them to live normal lives.
  • Reduces the risk of complications from having too little thyroid hormone in the blood, including a high level of fats and cholesterol in the blood.

People who take thyroid hormones need to have their blood checked regularly to make sure that they are taking the correct dose of replacement hormone. Children, pregnant women, and older adults may need to have their blood levels checked more often than other people.

For more information about thyroid hormone replacement and hypothyroidism, see the topic Hypothyroidism.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 07, 2012
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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