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Follow-up care for hypothyroidism is important. The optimal adjustment of thyroid hormone dose and patient compliance are critical because the body is sensitive to even small changes in thyroid hormone levels. After changing the brand or dosage of L-thyroxine, TSH and free T4 levels should be measured within six to eight weeks. Someone who is taking a stable dose of l-thyroxine with previously normal TSH levels should have the TSH checked every 6-12 months.
Related Health Complications of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism may contribute to the development of heart disease. Blood cholesterol levels may be increased, with some studies suggesting an increase in heart disease and heart attacks as a result. L-thyroxine treatment of hypothyroid patients is of value and lowers blood lipid levels by 10%-40%. Moreover, the efficiency of the heart's ability to contract may be reduced with hypothyroidism. Again, treatment with L-thyroxine treatment can reverse these changes.
Thyroid hormone requirements increase during pregnancy. For example, up to half of pregnant women with Hashimoto's thyroiditis require an increase in L-thyroxine dose during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. A majority of pregnant women who have a history of thyroid surgery or treatment with radioactive iodine require an increase in the L-thyroxine dose.
Management of hypothyroidism in pregnancy is critical because untreated hypothyroidism can cause complications in pregnancy. Hypothyroid mothers have an increased risk for high blood pressure, low blood counts and miscarriages, and babies born to hypothyroid mothers are at risk for a lower IQ.
Screening for hypothyroidism during pregnancy with a TSH level test is recommended in women with a previous history of thyroid dysfunction, a family history of thyroid disease and/or other autoimmune disease, or a history of recurrent miscarriages.
Medically reviewed by John A. Seibel, MD; Board Certified Internal Medicine with a subspecialty in Endocrinology & Metabolism
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/31/2016
Stephanie L Lee, MD, PhD, FACE
Sonia Ananthakrishnan, MD
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