In most cases, hypothyroidism is a permanent condition that requires a lifetime of treatment. The goal of treatment is to provide your body with enough thyroid hormones to maintain an efficient metabolic rate. At present, the prescription of a thyroid supplement is the only effective treatment for this disorder. The supplement is usually a form of synthetic T4 that is taken daily as a small pill. Although the supplements contain only T4, the various organs in your body can convert the hormone into the more powerful T3 as needed.
There are also some thyroid supplements that are made from hormones extracted from animal thyroids. These are not often prescribed today because their potency levels are not consistent. They also contain T3, which can cause heart problems, especially in older people or those with heart conditions.
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Your doctor will determine your daily dosage of thyroid replacement hormones, depending on your age, sex, weight, thyroid function and other medications. Usually, you will start with a low dose and increase it gradually until your blood levels of T4 and TSH are within normal range. Hypothyroidism is an on-going process and your dosage may change as your thyroid function continues to deteriorate. Regular blood tests will help your doctor adjust your thyroid hormone medication to suit your needs. If you become pregnant, the dose may need to be increased. Older people need less thyroxine, so your dosage may be lowered as you age. Once your medication levels have been properly adjusted, you should feel energetic, healthy and symptom-free. You should be able to resume a completely normal life.