The right amount of thyroid medicine is essential for a healthy body, but it can be tricky to find the right balance. Taking too much thyroid medication can have some serious side effects, like a sudden increase in heart rate. So if you're feeling any unusual symptoms after taking your meds, it might be time to take a closer look at how much you're taking.
Hypothyroidism is an imbalance that occurs when your body is missing some of the most important hormones in the human system: Thyroid Hormones. This imbalance causes your metabolism to slow down and results in a complex whirlwind of symptoms that can leave you feeling deflated and constantly tired. You'll also experience symptoms like weight gain,
Also known as the underactive thyroid gland, hypothyroidism is usually treated by taking daily thyroid hormone replacement medication. It's used to replace the thyroid hormones that your body is not producing enough of. The most common thyroid hormone replacement medications are levothyroxine, liothyronine, and desiccated thyroid extract (DTE).
Levothyroxine and liothyronine are synthetic forms of the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), respectively. Some of the most popular brand names of levothyroxine are Synthroid and Unithroid, while the most well-known liothyronine is Cytomel.
Desiccated thyroid extract, also known as natural desiccated thyroid (NDT), is a natural thyroid hormone medication made from the dried thyroid glands of pigs. It contains both T4 and T3, as well as other thyroid hormones like T2, T1, and Calcitonin. The most popular NDT brands are Armour Thyroid, WP Thyroid, NP Thyroid, and VitaliThy, a natural desiccated thyroid you can buy online.
While levothyroxine is the standard treatment for hypothyroidism, underactive thyroid patients prefer NDT.
Overmedication is a condition that occurs when you take too much thyroid medication, either in terms of dosage or frequency of use. It may also occur when you take multiple other medications that interact negatively with each other. When you take too much thyroid hormone replacement drug, you'll have more thyroid hormone in your bloodstream than you need (hyperthyroidism).
When you take too much thyroid medication, you'll experience hyperthyroidism symptoms. Sometimes called overactive thyroid, it's the opposite of hypothyroidism. Since there's too much thyroid hormone in your body, your metabolism will speed up and cause a wide range of symptoms.
This condition can be dangerous and have lasting effects, so it's important to be aware of the signs and know when to seek medical help. Here are some signs thyroid medication is too high:
Rapid heart rate (tachycardia) is a common symptom of hyperthyroidism. The excess thyroid hormone causes the heart to beat faster and harder, leading to an increase in the heart rate. This can cause symptoms such as palpitations, chest pain, and shortness of breath. Tachycardia can also cause other problems, such as heart failure, stroke, and blood clots. The increased heart rate can also lead to an increased risk of atrial fibrillation, which is a type of irregular heartbeat that can cause blood clots and stroke.
Another sign of taking too much thyroid medication is an irregular heartbeat. The increased levels of thyroid hormone can cause the heart to beat faster and harder, which can lead to an irregular heartbeat. The most common arrhythmia associated with hyperthyroidism is atrial fibrillation (AF), a type of irregular heartbeat characterized by rapid and irregular contractions of the atria.
In atrial fibrillation, the heart's two upper chambers (the atria) quiver instead of contracting and relaxing normally, which can cause blood to pool and potentially form clots. This can eventually lead to a stroke. Other types of arrhythmias that can occur in hyperthyroidism include supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) and atrial flutter, both of which are characterized by fast and irregular heart rates.
When you take too much thyroid medication, you may experience weight loss despite having an increase in appetite. Having too much thyroid medication increases your metabolism, which can cause your body burns more calories at rest than normal. As a result, you'll experience a decrease in body fat and muscle mass.
The increased appetite may be due to the body's need for more energy to keep up with the increased metabolic rate. Weight loss in hyperthyroidism can be dramatic, and it can occur even if the person is eating more than usual. While it may seem positive that weight loss is a symptom of hyperthyroidism, it is important to note that it's not healthy and should not be the goal for those who are dealing with weight gain due to hypothyroidism.
When you take too much thyroid hormone medication, you may feel unusually warm or even hot when others are not. You might also find yourself sweating more than usual.
If it's hard for you to fall or stay asleep, it might be a sign that your thyroid medication dose is too high. Insomnia can significantly impact your quality of life. It can lead to fatigue during the day due to a lack of restful sleep at night. You may also experience difficulty concentrating during the day.
In addition to physical symptoms, having too much thyroid hormone in your bloodstream may also affect you mentally. Anxiety and irritability can manifest differently depending on the individual, but some common signs include restlessness, overwhelming feelings of fear or dread, irrational outbursts, and difficulty concentrating.
Tremors are usually one of the early signs of overmedication. It usually occurs in the hands and arms first but may eventually spread to other parts of the body, such as the head or legs. Moreover, the tremors may worsen when you're under stress or engaging in activities that require fine motor control, such as sewing or writing.
Enlargement of the thyroid gland, called a goiter, appears as a lump or swelling in the front of the neck that may be visible when swallowing or even while resting. In most cases, a goiter won't cause pain and is usually benign (noncancerous). However, it can cause difficulty breathing and other problems with swallowing if left untreated for too long, and it grows too big. In extreme cases, it may cause your voice to change and even lead to a condition called vocal cord paralysis – a condition in which you're unable to control the movement of the muscles that control your voice.
Have you been having frequent bowel movements or diarrhea even when you don't eat anything weird? It might be a sign of overmedication. This is because the excess thyroid hormone can accelerate food digestion and cause loose stools.
Having more thyroid hormones than your body needs leads to higher production of sex-binding globulin (SHBG). Thus, it can cause irregular periods in women.
It is important to note that some of these symptoms may be caused by other conditions or medications and are not necessarily related to thyroid hormone levels. If you have any concerns or you notice any unusual symptoms after starting or adjusting your thyroid medication, you should consult with your healthcare provider. They may recommend blood tests to check the levels of your thyroid hormone and adjust your dosage accordingly.
How can you get into the state of overmedication if you're taking the medication as prescribed by your doctor? Here are the potential causes of overmedication.
Your doctor starts you on too high of a dose
Yes, it is possible for a doctor to start a patient on too high of a dose that can lead to overmedication. Usually, this occurs during titration, which is the process of adjusting your thyroid medication dose. Determining the right dose for you requires patience because it can take some trials and errors. Doctors typically start you with a low dose to avoid unwanted side effects, but they may also make a mistake and start you on too high of a dose. Sometimes, doctors may also make a mistake when writing prescriptions.
To prevent overmedication, it's important for the doctor to have a complete understanding of your medical history, other medications you're currently taking, and other factors that can affect the proper dosage. Additionally, it's important for the doctor to stay up to date on the latest guidelines for the medication they're prescribing.
We all make mistakes, including the pharmacies we go to. Some of the common mistakes that pharmacies make are filling your prescription with medications at the wrong dosage, giving you incorrect instructions (such as telling you to take two every day instead of one), filling your prescription with the wrong medication, or substituting a brand name with a generic without approval from your doctor (such as from Synthroid to generic levothyroxine).
Dietary changes can potentially lead to overmedication in some cases. For example, certain foods and supplements can interact with your thyroid medication and alter its effectiveness or increase the risk of side effects.
Yes, you read that right. While your body needs iodine to produce thyroid hormones, overdoing it with iodine supplements and taking thyroid hormone replacement medication at the same time may lead to overmedication.
Losing weight can potentially impact the effectiveness of thyroid medication since the dosage of the medication may have been calculated based on your original weight. This means that as you lose weight, your body may require a lower dosage of medication to maintain normal levels of thyroid hormone. However, the effect of losing weight on medication is not always predictable, and it depends on the specific medication and the amount of weight loss.
If you are taking thyroid hormone medication and plan to lose weight, it is important to inform your healthcare provider and discuss any potential changes to your medication regimen. Your healthcare provider may adjust your dosage regularly to ensure that you continue to receive the appropriate amount of medication for your current weight.
Doctors typically increase the dose of thyroid medication in pregnant women. This is because the hormone is important for the growth and development of your baby. In fact, raising your dose in the first trimester has been found to lower the risk of miscarriage. However, your need for thyroid hormone decreases as you have your baby, so you need to take lower doses of medication. If you don't lower your dose, you may experience overmedication.
Another cause of overmedication related to pregnancy is postpartum thyroid disease. Some women may develop hypothyroidism, or postpartum thyroid disease, after childbirth. Doctors usually use thyroid medication to treat it. However, if you keep taking the medication even if your postpartum thyroid disease resolves, you'll be at risk of overmedication.
Hashitoxicosis is a condition that occurs when people with Hashimoto's thyroiditis, an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid gland, temporarily have hyperthyroidism. When this happens, your thyroid replacement medication will cause overmedication.
Taking thyroid medication for the purpose of weight loss when you don't have hypothyroidism can be detrimental to your health. Taking this medication without a doctor's prescription or in doses higher than prescribed is dangerous and may increase the risk of overmedication. Keep in mind that people with hypothyroidism lose weight when taking thyroid medication because weight gain is a common symptom of hypothyroidism. If you don't have hypothyroidism, thyroid medication will only do more harm than good.
For couples trying to conceive, thyroid medication may seem like a good way to increase fertility. However, overmedication can occur if the medication is taken without proper medical supervision, especially if you don't have hypothyroidism in the first place. Taking thyroid medication when you don't need it can cause problems with ovulation and disrupt natural hormonal balance in both men and women.
In some cases, taking excessive amounts of thyroid hormone can also lead to an elevated risk of miscarriage. That's why it's important for couples who are trying to get pregnant to be aware of the potential risks associated with taking these medications without medical guidance and oversight.
When you refill your thyroid medication prescription, you may not be getting the same medication as before. Different manufacturers can produce different potencies of the same medications, even though they all contain the same active ingredients and the same dose. This variation in potency can lead to unpredictable symptoms in those taking these medications, which can range from mild discomfort to serious medical complications.
Then, how do doctors monitor overmedication? They do it by regularly monitoring a patient's levels of thyroid hormone through blood tests. The most common test used to evaluate thyroid function is the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test, which measures the amount of TSH in the blood.
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland. As its name suggests, it "stimulates" your thyroid to produce hormones. High levels of TSH indicate that the thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid hormone, while low levels of TSH indicate that the thyroid gland is producing too much hormone.
In addition to blood tests, doctors also monitor overmedication by evaluating a patient's symptoms and by doing regular physical examinations. Based on the results of these tests and evaluations, doctors can adjust a patient's medication dosage or switch to a different medication if necessary.
If you believe you have been overmedicated, the first thing you should do is contact the healthcare professional who prescribed the medication or the pharmacist who filled the prescription, as they will be able to advise you on the best course of action. They may reduce your dosage or take other steps to manage the effects of overmedication.
If you experience severe side effects such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, or seizures, it is important to seek immediate medical attention.
In the meantime, there are some things you can do to help alleviate the symptoms of overmedication:
Reduce your dosage of thyroid hormone replacement therapy only under the guidance of your healthcare provider
Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and other stimulants, as these can exacerbate symptoms of overmedication
Try to get plenty of rest and relaxation
Avoid taking any other medications or supplements that can affect thyroid function, such as iodine or lithium, without consulting your healthcare provider
Keep track of symptoms and any changes in your medications, and report to your healthcare provider.
Using too much thyroid medication can have serious consequences for an individual's health. It is important for individuals who have or are at risk for thyroid disorders to receive regular monitoring and follow-up care to ensure that their thyroid hormone levels are properly regulated.
Work closely with your healthcare provider to ensure that your levels of thyroid hormone are properly regulated and to avoid overmedication. Seek medical attention if you suspect you have taken too much thyroid medication so your doctor will be able to adjust your dosage and monitor your symptoms to ensure that your thyroid hormone levels are in a healthy range.
If you are looking for a convenient way to support your thyroid health, consider the NDT supplement VitaliThy. Made with Thyroid (USP) and free from gluten and lactose, VitaliThy is a safe and effective option for individuals who want to ensure their thyroid hormone levels are properly regulated. And, with its availability online, it's easier than ever to add VitaliThy to your daily routine.
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