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You may have an underactive thyroid if your body does not produce enough hormones. It can cause fatigue, depression, and weight gain.


Taking daily hormone tablets can help treat an underactive thyroid condition. It can replace the missing hormones in your body.


Unfortunately, an underactive thyroid can’t be prevented. Most cases are caused by an attack on the gland by the immune system. It can also be caused by damage during treatment for an over-active or cancer of the gland.


When Should You See a Doctor?

Underactive thyroid symptoms are similar to other conditions. They usually develop slowly and may not be noticed for a long time.


If you notice that your thyroid is not working properly, you must see a doctor. Some of the symptoms of an underactive thyroid include fatigue, depression, and weight gain.


One of the most accurate ways to diagnose an underactive thyroid is by having a function test. This procedure involves taking a blood sample to measure one’s hormone levels.


Who Can Have an Underactive Thyroid?

Although an underactive thyroid is more common in women, it can also affect men and children. In the UK, around 15 to 1 in 1,000 individuals have an underactive thyroid.


Around one in 3,500 to 4,000 babies in the UK are born with congenital hypothyroidism. They are screened for this condition through a blood test at around five days old.


How is This Condition Treated?

Levothyroxine is a daily hormone replacement medication that can help raise thyroxine levels in your body. You will most likely need this treatment for the rest of your life.


If left untreated, an underactive thyroid can lead to various complications. These include heart disease, goiter, and pregnancy problems.


Finding the Right Dosage

Your doctor will determine the appropriate dose of levothyroxine for you based on your thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level. After around six to eight weeks, your doctor will perform another blood test to check your thyroid level. Overdoing it can cause side effects, including fatigue, weight gain, and sleep problems.


When used as directed, levothyroxine does not cause side effects. However, if you take a different medication, you should inform your doctor about the change.


If you suffer from severe hypothyroidism or coronary artery disease, your doctor may start with a small amount of medicine and gradually increase the dosage. This will allow your heart to adjust to the increased metabolism.


How Do You Take Levothyroxine?

One of the most effective ways to take levothyroxine is to take it at the same time every day. Take the hormone in the morning and wait around 30 to 60 minutes before consuming other medicine.


If you feel better, do not stop taking the medicine. If you do, the symptoms of your condition may return.


Some foods, supplements, and other medicines can also affect how your body can absorb levothyroxine. If you are taking other medications, talk to your doctor about them.