What is Synthroid (levothyroxine)?
Levothyroxine is a medication commonly marketed under the name of Synthroid. Synthroid’s main usage is for the treatment of hypothyroidism. It has also been found effective in treating enlarged thyroids due to goiter as well as some of the symptoms of thyroid cancer. Levothyroxine is the synthetic version of the naturally occurring thyroid hormone thyroxine. Thyroxine is normally secreted by the follicular cells of the thyroid gland. Various diseases and medical conditions will decrease the amounts thyroxine produced and it is in these cases where Synthroid will be prescribed.
What is Synthroid (levothyroxine) used for?
Levothyroxine is used for the treatment of hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is an abnormally low activity of the thyroid. The thyroid is essential for proper functioning of the body, so hypothyroidism can have very significant effects if not treated properly. In addition to being able to effectively treat hypothyroidism Synthroid medication can be used to treat goiter. Goiter is the enlargement of the thyroid. It can be caused by either hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or other causes. Most who have goiter have it due to iodine deficiency. Selenium deficiency can also lead to the development of goiter. Synthroid is able to help treat goiter through it ability to lower thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) which is instrumental in causing goiter to develop. Levothyroxine is usually used in conjunction with different forms of iodine treatment when used for the purpose of shrinking a goiter.
Causes of hypothyroidism
Levothyroxine is prescribed for a variety of conditions which lead to hypothyroidism. The most common factor which leads to hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease known as Hashimoto's thyroiditis. This results when the body mistakenly attacks its own thyroid tissue. This leads to a destruction of part of the thyroid and will result in decreased activity of the thyroid. This results in a lower output than normal of the hormone known as thyroxine. Synthroid is then given to make up for the lack of thyroxine outputted by the body. In many cases levothyroxine can completely do away with the side effects of Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Another cause of hypothyroidism is destruction of the thyroid from radiation. This is a common occurrence in cancer patients who are treated with radiation. Synthroid is very effective in treating this form of hypothyroidism as well. For almost all of the causes of hypothyroidism levothyroxine is an excellent solution due to its ability to accurately mimic and replace the hormone thyroxine.
In order to determine when you may be in need of Synthroid treatment it is important to know the symptoms associated with hypothyroidism. One of the main symptoms of an under active thyroid is feelings of lethargy and tiredness. These feelings will often be accompanied by dry skin and brittle nails. The reason for this is that the hormones released by the thyroid are essential to the proper functioning of the entire body. It can also cause an extreme sensitivity to the cold. Other may also feel as if they are having problems with their memory and an inability to think clearly. Women may also notice a disturbance in their menstruation cycle. If any of these symptoms are experienced for an extended period of time medical attention should be sought immediately as Synthroid treatment can reverse many of these side effects.