can be easily treated using thyroid hormone medicine. The most effective and
reliable thyroid replacement hormone is man-made (synthetic). After starting
treatment, you will have regular visits with your doctor to make sure you have
the right dose of medicine.
In most cases, symptoms of
hypothyroidism start to improve within the first week after you start
treatment. All symptoms usually disappear within a few months. Infants and
children with hypothyroidism should always be treated. Older adults and people
who are in poor health may take longer to respond to the medicine.
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If you have had radiation therapy and have
hypothyroidism, or if your
thyroid gland has been removed, you will most likely
need treatment from now on. If your hypothyroidism is caused by
Hashimoto's thyroiditis, you might also need treatment
from now on. Sometimes, thyroid gland function returns on its
own in Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
If a serious illness or infection
triggered your hypothyroidism, your thyroid function most likely will return to
normal when you recover.
Some medicines may cause hypothyroidism.
Your thyroid function may return to normal when you stop the
If you have
mild (subclinical) hypothyroidism, you may not need
treatment but should be watched for signs of hypothyroidism getting worse. You and your doctor will talk about the pros and cons of taking medicine to treat your mild hypothyroidism. The dose of
thyroid medicine must be watched carefully in people who also have heart disease,
because too much medicine increases the risk of chest pain (angina) and
irregular heartbeats (atrial fibrillation).
Your doctor will treat your
hypothyroidism with the thyroid medicine levothyroxine (for example, Levothroid, Levoxyl, or Synthroid). Take your medicine as
directed. You will have another blood test 6 to 8 weeks later to make sure the
dose is right for you.
If you take too little medicine, you may
have symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as constipation, feeling cold or
sluggish, and gaining weight. Too much medicine can cause nervousness,
problems sleeping, and shaking (tremors). If you have heart disease, too much
medicine can cause irregular heartbeats and chest pain. People who also have heart
disease often start on a low dose of levothyroxine, which is increased