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Treatments for Autoimmune thyroid diseases

Treatments for Autoimmune thyroid diseases:

There is no way to prevent autoimmune thyroid diseases. However, with recognition and treatment, low levels or high levels of thyroid hormone can be returned to normal levels in the body. Treatments vary depending on the type of autoimmune thyroid disease and individual factors.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis (hypothyroidism) cannot be cured, and people with the disease have to take a thyroid hormone replacement medication called levothyroxine for the rest of their lives. However, this treatment is generally very effective in relieving symptoms.

Treatment of the life-threatening complication of Hashimoto's thyroiditis (hypothyroidism), called myxedema coma, may require intravenous thyroid hormone replacement medication and steroids and intensive monitoring in a critical care unit.

Grave's disease (hyperthyroidism) is treated with medications called beta blockers, which can minimize some symptoms, such as rapid heart rate and anxiety. Anti-thyroid medications are prescribed to decrease the overproduction of thyroid hormones. In some cases, mediation treatment may cure Graves' disease.

Surgery may also be done to remove an overactive thyroid gland. This can cure the disorder. For some patients, treatment with radioactive iodine may be done. In this treatment, liquid radioactive iodine is swallowed, which acts upon the thyroid to control over-activity and overproduction of thyroid hormone.

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Discussion of treatments for Autoimmune thyroid diseases:

The symptoms of hypothyroidism are controlled with replacement thyroid hormone pills; however, complications from over- or under-replacement of the hormone can occur. Treatment of hyperthyroidism requires long-term anti-thyroid drug therapy or destruction of the thyroid gland with radioactive iodine or surgery. Both of these treatment approaches carry certain risks and long-term side effects. Autoimmune thyroid diseases afflict as many as 4 out of 100 women and are frequently found in families where there are other autoimmune diseases. (Source: excerpt from Understanding Autoimmune Disease: NIAID)

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