What People with Newly-Diagnosed Hypothyroidism Should Know

Three Tips to Ease Your Mind as You Embark on the Thyroid Journey

Doctor speaking with patient who has thyroid condition
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Being diagnosed with hypothyroidism may seem overwhelming. But hopefully, with these tips, you can begin your thyroid journey confidently and easily.

Find the Right Doctor

Many people are diagnosed with hypothyroidism by their family doctor or internist. However, primary care physicians have varying experience in managing thyroid disease. 

Your first task should be to learn whether or not your primary care doctor feels comfortable treating you, or if you should consult with an endocrinologist (a doctor who specializes in treating hormone disorders).

In the end, you may see an endocrinologist once, and then have your primary care doctor manage your thyroid disease moving forward. Alternatively, your endocrinologist may do all of your thyroid care year after year—if this is the case, be sure to have your records sent to your primary doctor.

Lastly, depending on your diagnosis, you may be experiencing an array of emotions from fear to worry to relief (perhaps because you finally have a medical explanation for your symptoms).

It's important that you feel comfortable discussing your symptoms with your doctor, both the physical ones (for example, dry skin or constipation) and the more subjective ones (for example, depression and fatigue).

Along this same line, it's also important that when treating your thyroid, your doctor takes into account not only the results of your blood tests but also your symptoms—and it's reasonable to inquire about this treatment style during your visit.

Be Prepared to See Your Thyroid Doctor

Be sure you are prepared for your first doctor's appointment. To do this, write down a list of questions you have and bring that notebook with you to every visit. For instance, you may inquire about when you can expect to feel better or how often you will need to have a blood test or followup with your doctor.

It may also be useful to bring a partner or loved one with you to the appointment, so you are not overwhelmed with information. 

In addition, be candid in telling your doctor all of the medications, supplements, vitamins, and herbals you are taking, as they may interfere with your thyroid medicine.

Lastly, having a doctor who can explain your diagnosis and treatment in understandable lay terms allows you to be an active participant in your medical care. If you don't understand the terminology your doctor is using, please tell your doctor and ask him to explain it in another way.

Be Realistic and Patient

As mentioned earlier, it's common for people to experience relief after being diagnosed with hypothyroidism. The relief comes from months (even years) of feeling unwell or believing (or being told, unfortunately) that their symptoms were "in their head," or a "normal part of getting older". 

Even though you may be keen on getting your thyroid treated, try to remain patient. In the case of taking thyroid hormone replacement, like Synthroid (levothyroxine), it can take weeks for you to feel better and months for you and your doctor to find the right dose. Keep in touch with your doctor about your symptoms and try not to get discouraged.

A Word From Verywell

Besides establishing a compassionate, healing partnership with your thyroid doctor, and keeping on top of your thyroid health by attending all your appointments and staying abreast of your symptoms, it's important to remember to take care of and be kind to yourself.

Managing thyroid disease is often a process, so remain resilient and proactive and do not forget to enjoy life's treasures along the way. 

Sources:

American Thyroid Association. (2013). Hypothyroidism: A Booklet for Patients and Their Families. 

Garber JR et al. Clinical practice guidelines for hypothyroidism in adults: cosponsored by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the American Thyroid Association. Endocr Pract. 2012 Nov-Dec;18(6):988-1028.