Natural and Medical treatment of Hypothyroidism

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Natural and Medical treatment of Hypothyroidism

If you have hypothyroidism symptoms like tiredness, hair loss, weight gain, dry skin, or others you should immediately go to a doctor to get the diagnosis of hypothyroidism. The doctor will take a TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) test to determine the levels of thyroid hormones. This test is very important as it allows the doctor to determine what dosage is appropriate to treat the low levels of hormones.

Treating hypothyroidism is not difficult and the treatment solely depends on the levels of thyroid hormones. If the levels are a little below the normal range you can treat them naturally, but, if they are extremely low you will have to take a thyroid hormone pill regularly.

Levothyroxine

Levothyroxine is a synthetic thyroid hormone used to treat the low levels of thyroid hormones. It is the standard and recommended treatment for the hypothyroidism. It is also used to treat other thyroid disorders like goiter and certain types of thyroid cancers.

How to take this medication?

You must take the patient leaflet information from your pharmacist and use this medication as instructed.

You have to take this medication once a day in the morning before breakfast as it’s more effective when taken on an empty stomach. You can take it orally with or without water. If you want to take it without water, just open the ampule, press it and in-take all the contents. If you want to use it with water, open the ampule and empty all the contents in a glass of water and drink it immediately.

The dosage is dependent on:

  • Your age
  • Your weight
  • Your medical condition
  • Thyroid hormones levels

The typical dosage for an adult of 18-49 years is 1.6 mcg/kg/day. For the people above this age, the typical dosage is 12.5-25mcg/day.

You must take the medication at the same time every day and do not stop taking it without consulting the doctor.

Side effects of Levothyroxine

Here are some common side effects of taking this medication:

  • Weight loss
  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • Sleep problems
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Weakness of muscles
  • Vomiting

Levothyroxine can also cause other severe side effects like chest pain, swelling in feet or ankles, increase heart rate, and shortness of breath, etc. It can also cause allergic reactions like skin rash and flushing.

The drug affects each person differently so the side effects could be different for different persons. If you experience any of above-given side effects or any else you must immediately consult the doctor before the situation gets worse.

If you are taking Levothyroxine along with antidepressants or sympathomimetic drugs it can cause adverse effects and you can also develop heart problems.

Natural Remedies

Thyroid problems are sometimes the result of an improper diet, stress, depression, or lack of nutrients in your body. So, natural remedies could prove to be the best way to deal with hypothyroidism. These natural remedies can have fewer side effects as compared to the medications.

  • Vitamin B

In hypothyroidism body’s vitamin B-12 levels are affected. If you start taking a vitamin B-12 supplement it can have a positive impact on your thyroid health and can improve symptoms like tiredness. Here are some foods that contain Vitamin B which you can make part of your diet:

Cheese

Milk

Tuna

Eggs

  • Iodine

Iodine is really important for the proper functioning of the thyroid. Its deficiency can cause several thyroid disorders like thyroid gland enlargement and development of goiter. You should increase your iodine intake but not too much and consult the doctor if you experience any side effects.

According to research, there is a link between thyroid disease and celiac disease i.e. a larger number of people suffering from thyroid disease were also found to have celiac disease. People suffering from celiac disease need to avoid gluten. But, you must consult your doctor before adopting a gluten-free diet.

  • Selenium

If you make selenium a part of your regular diet it can improve the thyroid hormone metabolism. You can eat food like turkey and tuna that contain selenium. But, you need to be careful and do not use it without consulting the doctor, as its deficiency or excess can have adverse effects.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

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Common Signs and Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism or also known as an underactive thyroid is a medical condition that occurs when the body does not produce sufficient thyroid hormones. It is one of the most common medical conditions and around 1-2 in 100 people are suffering from it in the UK.

Thyroid hormones are very important for the body to be able to regulate metabolism. These are produced by the Thyroid gland located in the front of the neck. If it produces the hormones in an amount lower than what’s actually required the condition is called as the hypothyroidism. If the hormones are produced in an excessive amount the condition is called hyperthyroidism. In both conditions, normal body functions are affected.

Below are 10 common signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism.

Weight Gain

Weight gain is one of the common symptoms of Hypothyroidism. Thyroid hormones play an important role in regulating body weight and food intake. If the thyroid levels are low it will lower the metabolic rate and as a result, you would experience weight gain.

If you have gained considerable weight in a few months, even after maintaining a proper diet and following exercise plan you might have hypothyroidism.

Tiredness and Fatigue

Tiredness and Fatigue are two of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism. Low levels of thyroid affect your energy levels and make you feel more exhausted. It makes you feel unrested doesn’t matter how much you sleep. Almost half of the patients suffering from hypothyroidism feel consistently tired and sleepy.

Soreness in Muscles and Joints

Low thyroid levels can negatively impact muscles and joints causing pain and aches. Hypothyroidism causes metabolism i.e. the body begins to break down muscles for energy. It makes you feel more tired and can also cause joints stiffness and tenderness. It can also result in painful swelling of the joints.

Feeling Cold

When thyroid levels are low your metabolism slows down, so, the body does not burn enough calories needed to generate heat. As a result, the body becomes more sensitive to cold temperatures. People with hypothyroidism feel cold all the time even if they are in a warm room or during the summer season. Some people feel cold in just hands and feet while others feel cold in their whole body.

Dryness and redness on the face

Hypothyroidism can cause several skin problems. The most common of them is dry skin. According to a study, more than 70% of the people with hypothyroidism were reported to have dry skin. It can cause other symptoms as well such as paleness, itchiness, and redness. Though skin problems are more commonly caused by allergies if you don’t feel so you might have hypothyroidism.

Hair loss

Another symptom of hypothyroidism is hair loss. Both low and high levels of thyroid hormone can alter the hair as well as skin structure. As thyroid hormones are needed for the proper growth of hair follicles, their low levels can affect the regeneration of hair follicles resulting in hair loss. It can result in hair loss from the scalp, legs, and other body parts as well.

High Cholesterol Level

Hypothyroidism causes an increase in blood cholesterol levels. The reason for this is the insufficiency of the thyroid hormones needed to remove LDL, the “bad” cholesterol. Even people with mildly low levels of thyroid hormones can have a high level of LDL cholesterol.

Anxiety and Depression

Hypothyroidism affects a person’s overall health and energy that leads to depression. Anxiety is also a symptom of hypothyroidism. More than 60% of women and 50% of men suffering from hypothyroidism also suffers from depression. If you are feeling depressed or anxious and you are not sure about the cause you should consult a doctor.

Constipation

Constipation is a very common symptom of hypothyroidism and it gets worse and worse with time. Hypothyroidism affects many of the body’s systems including elimination and digestion. It reduces the gut motility which is important for the proper digestion of food. According to a study, 17% of people with hypothyroidism suffer from constipation.

Concentration and Memory Problems

Thyroid hormones are required by the brain in order to function properly. Their deficiency can impact brain structure and its functions in a negative way. People with hyperthyroidism are reported to have concentration. Some patients also reported that they are thinking more slowly than usual.

Pensioner nominated for commitment award

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A PENSIONER campaigning to make a “miracle” drug readily available on the NHS for fellow sufferers of a thyroid disease has been nominated for an award.

Great-grandmother Sheila Turner, of Ickornshaw, Cowling, was almost left wheelchair-bound after being diagnosed with hypothyroidism seven years ago.

Symptoms of the disease include weight gain, hair loss, infertility, fatigue, mood swings, loss of libido, being cold, high cholesterol, memory loss, depression and dementia.

Mrs Turner, an artist who has raised thousands of pounds for charity over the years, was treated on the NHS with synthetic throxine (T4).

But, although the majority of patients respond to the medication, Mrs Turner did not.

She researched her condition on the internet and discovered alternative medication, called Armour thyroid, had been used in the UK until the 1970s, and was still being administered in America . It is made from the thyroid glands of pigs.

Mrs Turner decided to go private and started taking Armour. After just nine days, her life was transformed.

She said: “I had regained my normal health and had not felt so well for years.”

But, Mrs Turner felt she could not afford to pay for the drug for the rest of her life and decided to find out whether it was available on the NHS.

She was turned down by her doctor at Cross Hills Health Centre and a specialist at Airedale Hospital because Armour was unlicensed.

Mrs Turner then wrote to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which gave her facts about Armour.

She passed these on to her endocrinologist who said he would now recommend the drug for her.

But, she claims her GP still refused to prescribe the drug and Mrs Turner said she was asked to leave the surgery. Her new GP now prescribes Armour for her.

It was this experience which drove Mrs Turner to launch an internet support group for fellow sufferers.

The Thyroid Patients’ Advocacy – UK now has around 160 members, one of whom nominated Mrs Turner for a Community Service Volunteers’ Award for Commitment.

Mrs Turner said: “I cried when I got the letter, I just thought it was wonderful that somebody should think to do this.

“There are patients around who are not being treated by the medical profession. A lot of money is being wasted by this nation on not diagnosing and not treating people.

“I am fighting for the treatment of the condition to change and for Armour to be available everywhere on the NHS.

“I have seen someone, who has been bedridden for six years, up and about and walking after taking Armour. The NHS has just got to listen.”

Mrs Turner has written to 760 NHS endocrinologists and all 335 primary care trusts in the UK .

Mrs Turner has also been allocated £4,900 from UnLtd Millennium Award, which will help fund a survey for sufferers on her website: www.tpa-uk.org.uk

Dr Steve Pickles, of Cross Hills Health Centre, said he was unable to comment on Mrs Turner’s claim she was asked to leave the surgery because of patient confidentiality.

He would not even confirm whether she had ever been a patient at the centre.

Health campaigner is great volunteer

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A great-grandmother has been recognised for helping thousands of people access an unlicensed “piggy pill” which can release them from the shackles of a debilitating illness.

Sheila Turner, of Ickornshaw, Cowling, is one of 450 people from across the country to be short-listed for Volunteer of the Year by Community Service Volunteers (CSV) for her work to educate NHS doctors on more effective treatments for hypothyroidism.

The disorder, in which the thyroid gland, located in the neck, fails to produce enough hormones to control metabolism, can cause a variety of symptoms, leading to mental and physical sluggishness.

Sheila, a professional artist, said: “The current situation, whereby thyroid patients are self-diagnosing, self-treating and self-monitoring due to lack of understanding by NHS doctors, in unacceptable.” Known as “the great pretender”, the condition’s tendency to mimic other illnesses has led to problems with diagnosis. The stigma attached to a particular unlicensed treatment has meant NHS doctors are refusing to prescribe potentially life-changing pills because they are not insured – meaning people are having to fork out thousands of pounds to buy the medication themselves.

Sheila, who was diagnosed with hypothyroidism seven years ago, set up Thyroid Patient Advocacy UK in July 2004 to fight the battle to get a natural porcine thyroid extract accepted by British Thyroid Association (BTA), so that NHS doctors would no longer be afraid to prescribe the unlicensed drug. The standard NHS treatment for the condition is a synthetic replacement hormone drug. But for some patients like Sheila it does not work. “I lost my hair, my eyebrows and eye lashes. I was immobile. There were times that I couldn’t move at, all the pain was so severe,” she said.

After doing some research she heard about natural porcine thyroid extract. A pig’s thyroid closely resembles a human one, so by taking extracts in pill form the lacking hormones will be replaced. The treatment is accepted in the US but in the UK the extract, called Armour Thyroid, remains unlicensed. When Sheila asked her GP and endocrinologist about Armour they refused to prescribe it, so she sought help privately. She paid £25 a month for the extract, and almost immediately felt the difference. “Nine days after taking it I just got up and went for a run in the car,” she said. “I felt absolutely brilliant. It was like a miracle and I’ve never looked back.”

She wrote to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and was told that the drug was safe to prescribe. She forwarded this to her doctors. Her endocrinologist was convinced and agreed to prescribe it for her, but her GP took her and husband Howard off their register. She has since found another GP who has agreed to prescribe Armour. “I decided that if this happened to me then it must be happening to others. I thought if I could change my endocrinologist’s mind then I could change the minds of others,” she said.

She sent her research to 760 NHS endocrinologists across the country and all 335 Primary Care Trusts (PCT). She has since convinced the BTA to agree that the extract was safe and more NHS doctors are now prescribing the treatment. Sheila said: “I’ve had so many emails from people saying things like they have been bedridden or in wheelchairs and after starting on piggy pills had been walking about and even gone back to work.” Sheila’s aim is to get every doctor in the world prescribing `piggy pills’.

She has now been awarded £5,000 from UnLtd Millennium Awards and hopes to compile the largest survey on hypothyroidism every produced. She urged those with hypothyroidism, or who thought they might be suffering from the condition, to visit the website at www.tpa-uk.org.uk to take part in a survey. Sheila will attend the CSV awards ceremony, in London, as part of the Year of the Volunteer celebrations in January.

Dr Skinner, TPA-UK in Daily Mail feature article

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In the article entitled “The wake-you-up pill . . . how a controversial thyroid supplement could help tiredness”, Science and Medical writer Jerome Burne presents several patient cases of extreme exhaustion and other symptoms that pointed to hypothyroidism. These patients subsequently sought help from Dr Gordon Skinner whose treatment inveritably changed their lives for the better.

Burne explained how Dr Skinner’s practice not to rely solely on blood tests but to institute treatment based on clinical symptoms and other factors found him in front of the General Medical Council (GMC) for “reckless prescribing” and the possibility of being struck off the medical register.

The article also features a comment form for readers at the end of the article. Please write to show the editor the depth of frustration among the tens of thousands of sufferers who, through being refused a proper diagnosis, do not receive appropriate treatment.