The thyroid plays a lot of roles in the body. It regulates temperature, it is responsible for proper metabolism and it also helps stave off colds and infections. Sometimes the thyroid becomes overactive or underactive. These conditions are known as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism respectively. Over time, these thyroid problems can be slowed down and in most cases, corrected altogether.
Get tested. If you think you have a thyroid problem, the first thing to do is see your doctor. The thyroid itself will be examined for size and irregularities, and the doctor will run some blood tests. These are designed to see how many thyroid hormones are in the blood. In some cases, there are other tests involved, such as a thyroid scan and radioactive iodine uptake.
Get medication. The most common step in treating thyroid conditions is getting medication. In this situation, your doctor will prescribe a synthetic version of a natural thyroid hormone. One of the most common ones is called levothyroxine.
Take iodine. In the case of hyperthyroidism, radioactive iodine uptake is also used as a treatment. You take it orally, and it causes the thyroid to shrink and go back to its normal level.
Slow your heart rate. Another treatment option that your doctor might recommend is beta blockers. They slow down your heart and reduce shaking and nervousness that was caused by sporadic hormone levels.
Get an operation. In some cases, your doctor will do surgery. This is also called a thyroidectomy. In this procedure, most of the thyroid is taken away. You are then given thyroid hormone supplements to normalize levels in the body.
Take a natural alternative. There are also some natural ways of treating thyroid problems. These include supplements in herbal and pill form that are used to support the proper function of the thyroid. These supplements often have iodine in them from a naturally occurring source such as sea vegetables.