Underactive Thyroid: Is Yours Being Overtreated?

thyroid 3D image

Is your underactive thyroid being overtreated?

If your thyroid gland is underactive — a condition called hypothyroidism — your body produces too little thyroid hormone.

Endocrinologists can make sure that you have enough of this important hormone by prescribing synthetic thyroid hormone T4 (Synthroid®, Levoxyl®, Levothroid® or another brand). Or they may prescribe a medication containing both T4 and T3, another thyroid hormone (Armour® Thyroid, Nature-Throid™, etc).

To feel your best, you need the right amount of replacement thyroid hormone in your system, stresses Mario Skugor, MD, of Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism.

Weight changes are key

Your dose of thyroid hormone is based on your weight, although doctors also have to keep the eye on your blood levels because some people have problems with absorption.

Be sure to report a weight gain or loss of 10 percent or more to your doctor right away, advises Dr. Skugor. This will help you avoid overtreatment or undertreatment.

Yet even when you’re on the right dose for your weight, you may be getting more thyroid hormone than your body needs.

Overtreatment places you at risk of developing heart arrhythmias and osteoporosis, a low bone-mass disorder that leads to easy fracturing.

Dr. Skugor says it’s wise to be familiar with the signs of overtreatment for hypothyroidism:

Symptoms of mild overtreatment

  • Feeling hot or shaky
  • Heart palpitations
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Excessive sweating

Symptoms of severe overtreatment

  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Hand tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle weakness, mainly in the thighs and shoulders
  • Weight loss
  • Inability to sleep and/or focus
  • Abnormally increased heart rate, even at rest
  • Forgetfulness

Two groups of people with hypothyroidism are at high risk of complications from overtreatment. They include:

  • People with heart rhythm disturbances (arrhythmias)
  • Elderly people with weak bones

Whether you’re young, old or in between, don’t adjust the dose yourself if you think you’re being overtreated. Call your doctor and explain your symptoms. He or she will check your blood levels of thyroid hormone.

The correct dose adjustment will soon have you feeling a whole lot better.

  • Marry

    I was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes and put on Metformin on June 26th, 2014. I started the ADA diet and followed it 100% for a few weeks and could not get my blood sugar to go below 140. Finally i began to panic and called my doctor, he told me to get used to it. He said I would be on metformin my whole life and eventually insulin. At that point i knew something wasn’t right and began to do a lot of research. On April 13th I found this book on
    w­j­e­5­9­2­.­com/Cure-Diabetes-Naturally.html . I read the book from end to end that night because everything the writer was saying made absolute sense. I started the diet that day and the next morning my blood sugar was down to 100, the next day was in the 90’s and now i have a fasting blood sugar between Mid 70’s and the 80’s. My doctor took me off the metformin after just one week of being on this lifestyle change. I have lost over 30 pounds in a month. I now work out twice a day and still have tons of energy. I have lost 6+ inches around my waist and I am off my high blood pressure medication too. I have about 20 more pounds to go till my body finds its ideal weight. The great news is, this is a lifestyle I can live with, it makes sense and it works. God Bless the writer. I wish the ADA would stop enabling consumers and tell them the truth. You can get off the drugs, you can help yourself, but you have to have a correct lifestyle and diet. No more processed foods.

    • Ez Acosta

      It pays to advocate for our own health. The standards of health in conventional medicine is atrocious. Im glad you found the path out of sickness. So much of this countries ills goes back to nutrition and clean living and food. The truth is out there.

  • Kimberly Ryan

    In 2007, I was diagnosed with severe fibromyalgia, placed on narcotic therapy, extremely active, petite, until three years ago. Cannot take Lyrica or gabapentin due to severe allergies and Cymbalta doesn’t help. I was taken off these medications because of all the studies contraindicated their effectiveness. Now I’m not on anything. I’ve gained almost 50 pounds, due to decreased activity, in severe pain, have increased neuropathy and muscle weakness, all of which are not being addressed. To add fuel to the fire, I had a brain aneurysm in 4/2000 which left me with traumatic brain injury, as well as, physical side effects. I’ve kept these to a minimum by staying physically fit and active. Because my health has deteriorated and by not being as physical, these side effects are becoming more apparent again. There is no one treating fibromyalgia in my area and I also live in NYS with the strict regulations of narcotics. I don’t fit the “normal” treatment for this diagnosis, nor do I have a history of alcohol or drug abuse, yet I cannot get help. It’s unfortunate that someone who goes from being highly active all their life, athletic, loves the outdoors, lives alone, owns their own house, used to be an RN, becomes someone who struggles to get through the day. It’s not right.