Healthcare providers do careful
blood testing to find the best dose of hormone replacement therapy for each person. The
blood tests show levels of thyroid hormones in the blood, as well as thyroid-stimulating
hormone (TSH) released by the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland plays a key role in
how the thyroid gland works. It controls how much thyroid hormone is released by making
TSH to "stimulate" the thyroid. Increased levels of TSH may mean that you have an
underactive thyroid or that thyroid hormone replacement needs to be increased.
You will have lab tests to measure
levels of thyroid hormones and TSH. Hypothyroidism can get worse over time. This means
the dose may need to be increased over time. People over age 60 usually start thyroid
hormone at lower dose to be sure they can handle the medicine.
To make sure that your thyroid
hormone replacement works, consider the following:
Have routine visits with your
Take your thyroid medicine at least 1 hour before breakfast and any calcium or iron medicines you may take. Or take at bedtime, or at least 3 hours after eating or taking any calcium or iron medicines.
Tell your healthcare
provider of your thyroid hormone treatment before starting treatment for any other
disease. Some treatments for other conditions or diseases can affect the dosage of
thyroid hormone therapy.
Let your healthcare provider know if you become pregnant.
Tell your healthcare provider of any new symptoms that may arise.
Tell all healthcare providers of your thyroid condition and medicine dosage.