Living with and controlling hypothyroidism can be a life long commitment. Living with any chronic disease is alike a marriage; sometimes things are good, and sometimes things are rocky. The good news is you can enjoy your life, live a full life, and not have to sacrifice your life just because you have a diagnosis of thyroid disease. In fact, many patients with thyroid disease go on to live full and productive lives despite their diagnosis of hypothyroidism.
If you want to succeed in living a full life you first have to recognize your disease must be cared for, much like a newborn baby. You must learn to love your life and learn everything you can about hypothyroidism so you know how to care for your body in the best way possible.
Caring For Hypothyroidism To Make The Best Life Possible
Hypothyroid disease is a disease your healthcare provider can work with you, to treat easily and without much expense in most cases. Typically a healthcare provider can diagnose hypothyroidism by using a simple blood test which will measure the levels of thyroid hormones in the blood. This will provide your health provider with information about levels of TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone and other circulating thyroid hormones in the blood.
Some other thyroid hormones your doctor or healthcare provider may want to monitor may include thyroid antibodies, free T3, free T3, reverse T3 and related hormones.
Often if one or more of these hormones is elevated or decreased, your health provider will recommend supplementation with a synthetic or natural thyroid hormone. In other cases your health provider will recommend that you make changes to your lifestyle and to your diet.
These changes may include supplementation with iodine for example. Some people have thyroid disease because of an iodine deficiency. While this is not as common in first world countries, it is seen more often in third world countries or for people that have other underlying conditions that cause hypothyroidism, including malabsorption syndromes.
Your doctor will often recommend daily treatment that continues over the course of your life, which is why if you choose the orthodox approach, thyroid treatment takes permanent commitment.
Should You Stop Therapy When You Feel Better?
Many patients realize that symptoms of hypothyroidism begin to diminish shortly after therapy begins. They may feel the need to continue therapy decreases with time. Some symptoms may disappear completely. You should not discontinue taking any pharmaceutical treatments recommended by your health provider just because your symptoms disappear, because your disease may return.
Remember thyroid hormones are a replacement for hormones that your body is no longer able to produce. If your thyroid is damaged for example, you will need supplementation for a lifetime.
Over time the dose of therapy you require may change, so your doctor may need to monitor your symptoms and test results and then change your therapy or dosage accordingly.
Here are some things you can do to improve your relationship with your body and your health provider or therapist:
– Pay attention to how you feel. Keep a daily journal and make note of any recurring symptoms. For example, symptoms of thyroid disease may occur if your need for thyroid hormone increases. Sometimes a dose of thyroid hormone becomes insufficient with time. That means some symptoms that went away may return. Make note of them.
– Look for changes in symptoms including fatigue, a slowing heart beat, inability to tolerate cold, or symptoms like constipation. If these return or become worse, write them down and bring your journal to your doctor or health provider to discuss at your next appointment.
– If you notice other symptoms including irritability or an increase heart rate, or an intolerance to heat, you may be taking too much medicine, and your health provider may need to lower your dose. Make sure you notice this as well.
– Make a note of any exercise you are undertaking, as this is part of your total body health plan as well. You can also make note of your sleep patterns and how many total hours of sleep you get each night.
– Don’t forget to note when you feel well too, because your health provider will want to know that you are succeeding at living a fulfilling life!
Remember to make a note of any other medications you may be taking so your health provider can look for possible interactions and protect you from any possible unnecessary side effects. Health is a total body process.
If you do not like the idea of taking pharmaceutical medication for the rest of your life you will be relieved to know that hypothyroidism can also be treated with natural therapies. There are a variety of herbs and nutrients that not only improve your thyroid hormones but also help improve thyroid function. Unlike pharmaceutical medication it may not be necessary to take natural remedies for long periods of time. When combined with exercise and the appropriate diet it is possible to permanently heal your thyroid.