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by Randall B

Talking to Your Doctor About Hypothyroidism

You have a unique medical history. It is important to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with hypothyroidism. You can take an active role in your care if you talk opening and regularly with your doctor.
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get. Make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask to have anything you don't understand repeated, if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.
If available, bring all your radiology records (thyroid ultrasounds, nuclear medicine thyroid scan and/or uptake), lab tests of thyroid function, and treatments. Plan ahead and contact previous doctors to collect and gather this information to bring it with you. Bring a current medication list with names and doses.
  • Could my hypothyroidism be caused by another, more important health problem?
  • Will hypothyroidism cause any other health problems for me?
  • Could my hypothyroidism be passed on to my children?
  • Which medicine will I need to take?
  • Are there any symptoms or dangerous side effects that I should report to you?
  • How soon after I start treatment can I expect to have a normal level of thyroid hormone?
  • How will I know if my thyroid hormone levels are stable?
  • How soon will I start to feel better?
  • Will my thyroid medicine interact with any other medications or dietary supplements that I'm taking for other conditions?
  • Is it safe for me to get pregnant and breastfeed while taking thyroid medicine? Will I need a change in my medicine dosage during pregnancy?
  • Are there any other treatment options? What about alternative and complementary approaches to treatment?
  • Do I need to worry about gaining weight? Can you refer me to a registered dietitian or someone who can help me control my weight?
  • Should I take my thyroid pill with food or on an empty stomach?
  • Does it matter if I take my thyroid pill in the morning or at night before bed?
  • What is the possibility of my thyroid returning to normal function?
  • How often do I need to see the doctor for follow-up care after my thyroid hormone level is normal?

References

Hypothyroidism. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated November 19, 2012. Accessed November 20, 2012.
Hypothyroidism. EmPower website. Available at: http://empoweryourhealth.org/endocrine-conditions/thyroid/about%5Fhypothyroidism . Accessed November 20, 2012.
Hypothyroidism. National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service website. Available at: http://endocrine.niddk.nih.gov/pubs/Hypothyroidism . Updated February 27, 2012. Accessed November 20, 2012.
Roberts CG, Ladenson RW. Hypothyroidism. Lancet . 2004;363:793-803.

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