Can a person live without a thyroid?

Marketplace nowadays sell many kinds of medicine or supplements that claim to help a person improve their health. If you are in good luck, maybe you will feel healthy when taking these substances but in cases where the substances are deemed toxic to the body or dangerous, people will experience sickness. Sickness to the extent of involving organs such as thyroid damage may be one of the bad things that could ever occur in a person’s life. Can a person live without thyroid?

Thyroid is a small gland in the shape similar to a butterfly that is located in front of the neck. Thyroid is considered to be part of the endocrine system. Endocrine systems in general are glands and organs that produce and release hormones into the blood to be distributed to the targeted tissues and organs in the body. Thyroids in the endocrine system  produce 2 main thyroid hormones known as thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). T4 is known as the primary thyroid hormone as thyroid makes this hormone more than T3 but also has minimal hormonal activity. T3 is considered an active thyroid hormone as it has the most effect on cell metabolism. T4 serves as a reservoir for T3 and T4 can be converted in most tissues into T3 when it is needed by the body. Thyroid hormone plays a great role in humans in controlling the metabolism process in the body that will affect body weight, energy levels, internal body temperature and growth of skin, hair and nail. For babies in the womb, thyroid hormone is required in the development of normal brain and tissue.

Have you ever wondered if it is possible for people to live without thyroid? Surprisingly, it is possible for a person to live even in the absence of thyroid. A person may not have thyroid because of thyroid diseases that require removal of the thyroid through thyroidectomy. It is fortunate that most people who do not have thyroid can actually live a long life as long as they are getting the treatment they should. People with this condition will often require thyroid hormone replacement therapy for a long period of time. This therapy will be able to provide what a normal thyroid could do for a person.

Therapy involves medications of combination of T4 and T3 hormones to supply the body with the missing thyroid hormone. Modern medicine has made thyroid hormone medication possible and accessible. It is also inexpensive and commonly prescribed to help those who have trouble with thyroid hormone. It is important to note that most people will need to take hormone replacement therapy for the rest of their life due to the absence of the thyroid. It may be difficult at first for those who undergo the therapy as they feel symptoms of hypothyroidism such as fatigue, slight weight gain, sluggishness and inability to cope with cold temperature.

Hormone replacement therapy will usually be given after blood tests have been done. Blood tests not only show results of the thyroid hormones in the blood but also thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) from the pituitary gland. Knowing this information will help to guide patients on the dose the patient should start with. People who are older than 60 years old often are placed on lower doses to ensure they can tolerate well with the medication provided. The dose will be increased steadily until the maintenance dose is reached. Ensuring maintenance dose is the right one can make treatment as the sustainable option for patients in the long term. The right dose should also mean patients can feel better of themselves and less chances for side effects. Taking the correct medication with the right dose can assist patients in ensuring they are taking regularly and safely.

Beside the optimal dose needed by a patient, patients are expected to get tested for their thyroid levels regularly. This is to ensure the medication provided is sufficient and not overtreatment or undertreatment. The good news is most people who have no thyroid can adjust to their medication quite easily. Furthermore, this is made possible as patients only need to take the hormone medication once a day.

There are additional steps that can be taken by those who undergo thyroid hormone replacement therapy in maximising the effect of the medication. This includes having routine visits with healthcare providers, sticking to the same brand when possible and to notify healthcare providers if there is emergence of new symptoms. If patients are expected to be treated for other conditions or disease, it is best for the patient to tell the doctor about the thyroid hormone treatment before commencing treatment to treat other disease. It is advisable to take thyroid medicine half an hour to an hour prior to breakfast on an empty stomach. Avoid taking medicine containing calcium and iron in the first 4 hours following thyroid medicine.

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