Thyroid problems are among the most common illnesses around the world. In India, about 42 million people suffer from thyroid diseases, according to data published in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. Needless to say, it requires medical attention, and treatment is the only way ahead. Therefore, many patients suffering from thyroid disorders are prescribed medications along with certain instructions that help absorb them well and limit side effects.
In this article, Dr Ashok Kumar Jhingan, Senior Director- Centre For Diabetes, Thyroid, Obesity & Endocrinology, BLK-Max Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi, lists down some of the common mistakes people make with thyroid medications. But before we do that, let us discuss some of the most common thyroid problems.
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Common Thyroid Problems
The thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland, helps regulate hormones that control your metabolism and affect major functions in the body. Many factors can affect your thyroid, hampering the healthy production of hormones and leading to thyroid disorders. These include:
It refers to an underactive thyroid, meaning when your thyroid gland fails to produce enough hormones. Symptoms include fatigue, heightened sensitivity to low temperatures, weight gain, dry skin and hair and more.
Hyperthyroidism is the opposite of hypothyroidism, wherein the thyroid gland produces excessive amounts of hormones. It is often caused by an inflammation of the thyroid gland, excessive iodine consumption, taking too many thyroid medications and a noncancerous pituitary gland tumour. Symptoms often include irritability, restlessness, heart palpitations, shaking, muscle weakness and more.
Thyroid Medication Mistakes To Avoid
Once you're diagnosed with thyroid disorders, your healthcare provider is likely to prescribe certain medications that will help regulate your thyroid levels. However, if you do not follow proper instructions and guidelines, it may backfire and lead to other complications. Having said that, Dr Jhingan lists down some common mistakes associated with thyroid medications.
Taking thyroid medication with snacks or meals
The thyroid hormone will not be absorbed properly unless you take it on an empty stomach. The gap between the meals should be maintained for at least 45 minutes.
Combining thyroid medicine with other medications
Antacids, calcium, and iron supplements can interfere with thyroid medicines. These medicines should be taken at least 4 hours post thyroid medication.
Stopping medicine without consultation
Sometimes, thyroid reports can read normal, which is why patients tend to stop taking medications without the advice of the doctor. This should be avoided as the dose needs to be adjusted as per the blood reports.
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Taking medicine irregularly
Taking thyroid medicines at different timings of the day and inconsistently can affect the dose. One should take medicine, in the same way every day, with the correct dosage.
Even after a thyroid disorder has been diagnosed, several things need to be kept in mind. Besides eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight, you must also take your doctor's advice on how you need to take your medications. While your lifestyle plays an important role in regulating your thyroid, taking your medicines correctly is crucial.