Hypothyroidism, resulting from a lack of thyroid hormone, can cause poor hair quality and dry skin. While it would be nice if all people with hypothyroidism responded well to the same treatment, many factors contribute to what drugs or dosages may work best.
Here are some tips on hypothyroid treatment:
Know Your TSH Level
First and foremost, it is important to understand your thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level. The pituitary gland produces TSH to tell the thyroid to produce more or less of its hormones. To treat hypothyroidism, ideally, patients have identified what the ‘optimal’ TSH level should be. This is the TSH value at which you are receiving maximal benefit from your thyroid hormone replacement medication while not receiving any negative side effects. It is important to discuss this number with your doctor to ensure that you are given the right dosage.
Know Your Free T4 Level
The next step in understanding your treatment is knowing your free thyroxine (T4) levels. Levothyroxine sodium is the molecule typically used for treating hypothyroidism. However, other forms may exist, including liothyronine sodium and compound S-L-thyroxine. Regardless, thyroxine is the molecule that binds to thyroid receptors for stimulation. It is only then that T3 (triiodothyronine) can be produced and used by your body.
Knowing your free T4 levels will allow you and your doctor to see whether or not you are receiving optimal replacement within the therapeutic range.
Insulin Resistance and Carbohydrate Intake
While slightly unrelated to thyroid treatment, insulin resistance is a common problem among hypothyroid patients. It can increase your overall carbohydrate requirement by up to 50%. This means that you must also monitor your intake of carbohydrates and work to keep it at or below the maximum amount needed for healthy function.
Many people have reported great results with the use of chromium and vanadium for insulin resistance. In addition, it is advisable to follow a low carbohydrate diet consisting mainly of meat, eggs, vegetables, nuts & seeds, fruits, and limited dairy intake. To best maintain this diet, medical experts recommend using a tracking tool such as a chronometer to record the amount of food you are eating at every meal.
Sleep, Stress, and Thyroid Resistance
Acceptance is key when seeking hypothyroid treatment. Hypothyroid patients need to understand that there may be some resistance during treatment with any T4 containing medication. This means that it can take several years before your body reaches a new equilibrium point. The more common reason for this resistance is the increased levels of cortisol caused by stress or sleep deprivation. These feelings of stress can reduce your overall hormone levels, increasing your need for higher doses of thyroxine.
Hypothyroidism is a serious condition that is treated medically to avoid serious health complications. Ensure you are working closely with your doctor, who will monitor your dosage and overall functioning to get you back on track. In addition, research is constantly being done on this topic, so there is a need to be aware of the current trends in medication, natural supplements, dietary changes, etc., to actively stay up-to-date and take control of your health.