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Self-care action plan

If you have some of the symptoms mentioned, you may have a problem with your thyroid gland and you should see your doctor.

Medicines and surgery

Hypothyroidism is readily treatable using tablets containing thyroid hormones, and the symptoms usually improve within days to weeks. Iodine deficiency can be corrected with iodine supplements.

Hyperthyroidism is initially treated using combinations of therapies. The overactivity of the gland is reduced using drugs such as carbimazole, and beta-blockers are used to slow the heart rate and reduce any tremor. The treatment of Grave's disease is to shrink the gland using radioactive iodine, which is very safe.

It may be necessary to treat goitres with surgery.

Cancers of the thyroid are often removed surgically, although some can be successfully treated with radioactive iodine. Some types of thyroid cancer may spread to other organs. If the tumour is detected early, the outlook is usually favourable. If the gland is removed during surgery or destroyed by radioiodine treatment, thyroid hormone replacement may be required.


The American Thyroid Association (ATA) endorses the use of potassium iodide (KI) to protect people from absorbing radioactive iodine released during a nuclear emergency. High levels of radioactive iodine exposure can cause thyroid cancer, especially in babies and children up to 18 years of age. KI reduces the risk of thyroid cancer in exposed populations. ATA advocates KI as an essential adjunct to evacuation, sheltering, and avoiding contaminated food, milk, and water

Thyroid hormone suppression therapy

Thyroid hormone suppression therapy is a form of treatment that involves giving a patient a pharmacologic preparation of thyroid hormone in an attempt to try to shrink a thyroid nodule. It is often started on a trial basis when a nodule has been evaluated and is known to be benign. It may also be started as part of the process of evaluation to help determine whether a nodule is likely to be cancer.

In essence, thyroid hormone suppression therapy consists of giving a patient a dose of thyroid hormone that suppresses TSH, and then monitoring to see if this helps shrink a nodule.


Levothyroxine, also known as T4, is the predominant form of thyroid hormone produced by the thyroid gland and released into the bloodstream. It is converted to another form of thyroid hormone called triiodothyronine, also known as T3, which is more active in different tissues in throughout the body. The pharmacologic preparation of levothyroxine is identical to the natural form that is produced by the body. It is manufactured under a number of different trade names including Synthroid, Levoxyl‚ and Levothroid. Levothyroxine is also available in generic preparations. It is available in a number of different doses.


With more than eight million users, Synthroid is one of the leading medications in the treatment of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). Although Synthroid has been available since 1955,
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