Having an underactive thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism, is a common condition in adults. The thyroid is a gland that regulates the body’s energy. The problem occurs when the thyroid gland stops producing enough of the thyroid hormones. When the thyroid does not produce enough hormones, it slows down the body’s metabolism, and the gland shrinks as its cells are destroyed by the patient’s immune system.
Your doctor can screen for hypothyroidism with a simple blood test for Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH). An underactive thyroid is usually treated with daily hormone replacement tablets called levothyroxine. Levothyroxine replaces the thyroxine hormone if your thyroid does not make enough.
Some people start to feel better soon after beginning treatment, while others do not notice an improvement in their symptoms for several months. Once you are taking the correct dose, you will usually have a blood test once a year to monitor your hormone levels.