How to Treat Hypothyroidism

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This videos covers how to treat hypothyroidism, also known as low thyroid.

This week, Brett Newcomb and I discuss how to treat hypothyroidism (low thyroid). One of the first things we talk about is the source of one type of thyroid replacement, called Armour Thyroid. It comes from what are called “medical pigs”. We get heart valves, collagen, and thyroid from these pigs. Our systems are so similar that we can use this material from another species to treat illness; it is not an artificial lab created product.

We also discuss Armour thyroid, which is my choice for replacement for women, and some men. It is an oral pill that should be taken once in the morning on an empty stomach, given at least twenty minutes for it to be absorbed before eating, drinking or taking any other meds. It needs that time to be absorbed into the intestinal track.

We then talk about Synthroid (generic is Levoxyl), which is what I often start men on; it is a synthetic thyroid. Dosage regulation is very important in getting thyroidmedication to work correctly. If synthetic thyroid does not work and Armour thyroid is not an option either, I usually go to a good compounding pharmacy and ask for a vegetable based replacement that is bio-identical to thyroid hormone. It is natural and made from plants.

There are several ways to approach replacing thyroid function, so our choices vary based on the situation and needs of the individual patient. The goal is to get rid of the symptoms the patient is suffering from when they have a low thyroid or a non-functioning thyroid. We also mention the importance of supplements to the diet, such as iodine, that can help thyroid function.

When we replace the thyroid deficiency at sufficient levels, the individuals’thyroid shrinks and becomes dormant. This is important because many people with the deficiency also have cysts on their thyroid or goiters. When the thyroid becomes dormant the cysts shrink, and the overall size of the thyroid decreases.

We tell people when we replace their thyroid hormones that they will have a short adjustment period; their pulse rate will go up from their normal rate for a short time. When that happens they may feel a little funny and sweat or get hot, usually this only lasts about 48 hours or so. Some people get irritable when they first take thyroid medicine, but again, it usually goes away in a day or so.

Finally we talk a little about hyperthyroidism (high thyroid function). This condition is more of an emergent issue because hyperthyroidism speeds up the heart and can lead to heart attacks. The challenge is to decrease thyroid hyper-function without shutting it down all together. It becomes a question of dosage and monitoring. When I have to deal with this issue, I refer my patients to an endocrinologist for help.