Autoimmune Thyroid Disorders
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- Autoimmune thyroid disorders are conditions where the immune system (defense against infections and diseases) attacks your thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ that is found in the front part of your neck. The thyroid hormones help control how your body works, including your heart rate, growth, and body temperature. Grave's disease, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, postpartum and silent sporadic thyroiditis are types of autoimmune thyroid disorders. You may be born with these conditions, or they may be caused by stressful events, infections, or heavy smoking. Having too much or too little iodine in your diet may also cause any of these conditions.
- You may have signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, or both with an autoimmune thyroid disorder. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland makes too much thyroid hormones. When this happens, you may tremble, your heart may beat very fast, and you may lose weight without trying. Hypothyroidism occurs when there are low levels of thyroid hormones in the blood. When this happens, your voice may be hoarse, you may feel weak and gain weight, and your heart may beat slowly. These conditions are found using blood tests, biopsy, thyroid scan, and ultrasound. Treatment may include thyroid medicine or radioactive iodine. Surgery to remove the thyroid gland may also be done. Finding and treating these conditions as soon as you have symptoms can relieve your symptoms and prevent other medical problems.
Take your medicine as directed.
Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:
For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.
- You may need to have blood drawn at least every 3 to 6 months if you are taking thyroid medicines. This is to make sure you are getting the right amount of medicine. Ask your caregiver when to come back and how often you need your blood tested.
- Your diet may need to change when you have an autoimmune thyroid disorder. Your body uses a lot of energy when it has too much thyroid hormone. You may need to eat more food to give your body the extra energy it needs. When you do not have enough thyroid hormones, you may need to eat foods rich in iodine. Iodine is an important mineral used by the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormones. Ask your caregiver which foods are best for you, and if you need to follow a special diet.
- Men 19 years old and older should drink about 3.0 Liters of liquid each day (close to 13 eight-ounce cups). Women 19 years old and older should drink about 2.2 Liters of liquid each day (close to 9 eight-ounce cups). Follow your caregiver's advice if you must change the amount of liquid you drink. For most people, good liquids to drink are water, juices, and milk. If you are used to drinking liquids that contain caffeine, such as coffee, these can also be counted in your daily liquid amount. Try to drink enough liquid each day, and not just when you feel thirsty.
Talk to your caregiver before you start exercising. Together you can plan the best exercise program for you. It is best to start slowly and do more as you get stronger. Exercising can help make your heart stronger, lower your blood pressure, and keep you healthy.
Stress may slow healing and cause thyroid disorders and other illnesses. Since it is hard to avoid stress, learn to control it. Learn new ways to relax, such as deep breathing. Talk to your caregiver about things that upset you.
It is never too late to quit smoking. Smoking harms the heart, lungs, and the blood and may also cause autoimmune thyroid disorders. You are also more likely to have a heart attack, lung disease, and cancer if you smoke. You will help yourself and those around you by not smoking. Ask your caregiver for more information about how to stop smoking if you are having trouble quitting.
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- You have a fever.
- You feel very nervous and restless.
- Your voice becomes hoarse or you have itchiness in your throat.
- You have pain, redness, and swelling in your muscles and joints.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or medicines.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- You have chest pains or trouble breathing all of a sudden.
- Your heart is beating very fast and you are becoming very restless.
- You have slurred speech, problems with balance or walking, or cannot think clearly.
- You have swelling in your legs, ankles, or feet.
- You fainted or had a seizure (convulsion).
- Your signs and symptoms return or become worse.
© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of the Blausen Databases or Truven Health Analytics.
The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Learn more about Autoimmune Thyroid Disorders (Aftercare Instructions)
Drugs associated with:
Micromedex Care Notes:
- Autoimmune Thyroid Disorders
- Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma
- Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma
- Subclinical Hyperthyroidism
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