Discharge Instructions for Hypothyroidism and Myxedema
You have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, which means your thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid hormone to meet your body's needs. Overall, hypothyroidism slows your body's normal rate of functioning, causing mental and physical sluggishness. Various symptoms may range from mild to severe. The most severe form is called myxedema.
Take your medication exactly as directed. You will take this medication for the rest of your life.
- Take your medication the same time every day.
- Keep your pills in a container that is labeled with the days of the week. This will help you remember if you've taken your medication each day.
- Take your medication with a full glass of water. Take it at least 1 before you eat breakfast. Or at bedtime, at least 3 hours after eating.
- Do not take calcium or iron within 4 hours of taking your thyroid medication. And, ask your health care provider about taking other medications with your thyroid medication.
- Continue to take your medication if you become pregnant. Many women need more thyroid medication during pregnancy. Your doctor may increase your dose.
- Your health care provider will regularly check your thyroid hormone levels with blood tests. If your dose is changed, you will usually have lab work in 4 to 6 weeks.
- Never stop treatment on your own. If you do, your symptoms will return.
Other home care
- During your routine visits, tell your health care provider about any signs of hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone), such as:
- Rapid weight loss
- Eat a high-fiber, low-calorie diet to relieve constipation and maintain a healthy weight.
- Exercise. Start slow, with a 5- to 15-minute walk each day. Try to work up to 10,000 steps, or three 20-minute walks each day.
- Remember, hypothyroidism is associated with increased cholesterol and an increased risk of heart disease. Correcting hypothyroidism generally improves cholesterol levels. Talk to your health care provider about the elements of a healthy lifestyle.
To learn more
The resources below can help you learn more:
- American Thyroid Association 703-998-8890 www.thyroid.org
- Hormone Health Network 800-467-6663 www.hormone.org
Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.
When to seek medical care
Call your health care provider right away if you have any of the following:
- Extreme fatigue
- Puffy hands, face, or feet
- Irregular heartbeat