Reversal of trends
Underactive Thyroid treatment can be a very tricky situation. Previously, underactive thyroid would go undetected due to a lack of awareness and the vagueness of its symptoms – fatigue, dry skin, constipation, dry hair, mood changes, intolerance to cold etc. But now, doctors are noticing a reversal of trend. More and more people are being started on underactive thyroid treatment early on, leading researchers to question if it is a bit too early!
Levothyroxine is the thyroid hormone supplement that is used for treating underactive thyroid. Prescriptions of Levothyroxine went up from 50 million in the year 2006 to 70 million in the year 2010 in USA. A similar trend was seen in the UK where it jumped from 17 million to 23 million in the same time period. While one reason was better attention given to the thyroid by patients and doctors, another reason was a lowering of the threshold values that define an underactive thyroid.
A study published in the reputed Journal of American Medical Association in 2014 studied this trend. The doctors concluded that more and more patients were being started on underactive thyroid treatment in marginal or borderline degrees of hypothyroidism. Also, they also found a substantial risk of developing a suppressed TSH level after treatment.
Thyroxine supplements may also produce side effects in some patients like tiredness, nausea, slow or fast heartbeats, tightness of chest, sweating, etc.
TSH levels and Starting Treatment
In Underactive Thyroid, the hormone TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) is raised. TSH is commonly tested to detect underactive thyroid, in addition to other thyroid hormones T3 and T4. While some countries follow the reference range of 0.5 to 5 as normal for the hormone TSH, others refer to the range of 0.4 – 4.
As per the 2006 Thyroid Function Test Guidelines, non pregnant patients with TSH of less than 10 need not be started with thyroxine early on, provided certain other factors have been considered:
An untreated underactive thyroid can have multiple complications including high levels of cholesterol and heart problems. Underactive thyroid treatment is absolutely necessary during pregnancy as it can have devastating effects on the mother and child. Hence, even individuals with TSH less than 10 may be required to be started on underactive thyroid treatment especially when there are clear symptoms of hypothyroidism, presence of antibodies or risk of heart disease.
Is treatment necessary for your Underactive Thyroid?
It is very natural for you to read about conflicting theories on the internet and wonder about what your next step should be. Have a discussion with your doctor about your Underactive Thyroid and TSH levels. Your doctor will analyze the various aspects of your health, weigh the risks and benefits and advise whether you need to be started with Underactive Thyroid Treatment right away.
Homoeopathy and Underactive Thyroid Treatment
In Dr Rajesh Shah’s experience here at Lifeforce, Homoeopathy is extremely effective for those who have been on thyroid hormones for less than 2 years. Homoeopathic treatment helps stimulate the underactive thyroid to secrete optimum levels of thyroid hormone. Homoeopathic medicines also help take care of the symptoms that may persist despite thyroxine supplementation. Get in touch with us today to know if your underactive thyroid treatment can be benefitted with homoeopathy.