17 years old and have hypothyroidism

So I've been having headaches for a long time, I went to the doctors and he did 4 blood tests. I got the results back today and it turns out I have an underactive thyroid. He prescribed me 100mcg of levothyroxine and I have to go back in 6 weeks for a blood test to check if the dosage needs altering. I have no idea what this means for me or what effect it will have on my life, I mean I'm only 17...

Any information would be greatly appreciated xo

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  • sarahprescott31 You're not the only young person to be diagnosed hypothyroid, my step-grandaughter is 14 and was diagnosed last year.

    As long as you are optimally medicated and your symptoms alleviated then there should be no real impact on your life. It's only when GPs don't take notice of our symptoms and dose by test results only that problems can crop up and people remain ill.

    Your thyroid isn't working properly for whatever reason, it can no longer produce thyroid hormone itself so that hormone has to be provided with the Levothyroxine so it is important that you take it as directed and not skip it. Best thing to do is choose a time of day that suits you, it can be as soon as you wake up, when you go to bed, whatever is convenient. But make sure that you take it on an empty stomach, either one hour before or two hours after food, and take it with water only. No other meds or supplements to be taken at the same time as they can interact and affect absorption.

    When attending for thyroid tests in future, leave off your Levo for 24 hours, book the earliest possible appointment at the surgery (whatever their starting time is), and fast from the previous night (water only). Breakfast and Levo when you get home after the blood draw.

    Best advice is to learn all you can and start to understand what it is all about - here is a good place to start thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/index....

    Do you have the results of your blood tests? If not, go to your surgery and ask for them. You are legally entitled to them under the Data Protection Act 1998 so they can't refuse. They may have to ask your GP's permission to give them to you and you may have to pay a small amount for printing.

    When you have the results, make a new thread with the results, include the reference range (usually in brackets to the side of the result). Reference ranges vary from lab to lab and it is important that they are included in order to interpret your results accurately.

    It's normal to have a re-test and dose adjustment after 6 weeks so it looks as though your GP is doing things right.

    Make a habit of asking for your results every time. Keep a spreadsheet and enter Date - Test - Result - Range - Dose of meds - How you feel. This record can be useful in future to refer back to if ever you need to discuss dose adjustments/symptoms/etc with doctors if you don't feel well and are looking for an increase. The test results will tell you a lot.

    Come back and ask questions about anything you're not sure of.

  • Most people with under active thyroid do very well by taking levothyroxine each day. Most of the people on these forums have more a complicated disorder which is why you might see so many difficulties with treatment. So don't get a pessimistic view.

    You will need to take levothyroxine each day for the rest of your life. It is a form of the natural hormone we produce, not a drug. The good news is that as a hypothyroid patient you are entitled to a prescription exemption card, so you never need to pay for a prescription again! You can take your levothyroxine before breakfast or at night. It is recommended to take it on an empty stomach for optimal absorption. I take mine a couple of minutes before my porridge or cereal and have never had a problem, so it probably depends upon how big a breakfast you have. The main thing is to be consistent, if you absorption is slightly lower you will simply be prescribed a slightly higher dose. Don't have coffee around the same time as it can have a big effect on absorption. Might be simpler to take it at night, when I was your age I didn't like getting up early.

    If you take your levothyroxine within an hour or two of a blood test it can affect the assay accuracy, so if you take your tablet in the morning make your appointment a few hours later or simply delay taking your tablet until later. There is no need to fast. The recommendations for an early blood test, fasting and delaying your levothyroxine are in order to get a 'good' result. Many patients with complex conditions are under treated and these tricks may enable them to get a higher dosage.

    I won't go into technical detail except to say primary hypothyroidism, a failing thyroid gland, is diagnosed by a high TSH and a low fT4. The pituitary gland produces a hormone called TSH which stimulates the thyroid to produce thyroid hormones T4 and T3. You don't have your blood test numbers at the moment but given your doctor has started you on 100 mcg levothyroxine we can deduce your hypothyroidism was obvious. A typical full dose is around 125 or 150 mcg. It is good that your doctor has started you on 100 mcg, this is the latest thinking for treatment of young healthy patients. Doctors used to start patients off on low doses and gradually increase, unnecessarily delaying their recovery. You should start to feel better in a week or so. Full recovery will take many months. It might affect your school / college work for some time so I'd inform your tutors and ask them to take it into consideration.

    It is important that doctors treat patients according to their symptoms rather than just the blood tests. So be sure to let your doctor know how you are. Lastly, looking to the future, if you become pregnant or plan to, you should see your doctor as you will need your dose increased by 25 or 50 mcg for the optimal development of the baby.

    Just to reiterate most patients do very well and live a perfectly normal life. Unfortunately some do not, as you will notice on this forum.

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