Health

Understanding the Language of Your Thyroid Medication

The language of medicine offers challenges to most people, especially if they are reading something which is written in a language that isn’t their primary one. The development of medical terminology isn’t often publicised or talked about and so communication barriers usually go undetected in healthcare settings.

Literacy skills play a part in the lack of understanding with those with limited skills suffering the most, but the fact of the matter is medical terminology can be totally foreign to the layperson. Patients with lower reading fluency tend to know less about their ailments and are worse at managing them. However, patients do not need to have limited literacy skills in order to have low health literacy. Health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the power to access, understand and apply basic health information. Limited health literacy is a hidden epidemic. It can affect every aspect of a patient’s healthcare. The basis of most healthcare systems is the assumption that patients can comprehend and navigate an often-complex healthcare system. Physicians unknowingly present information to a patient in a high literacy level placing out of grasp for some people. Coupled with the medical vocabulary that is alien to most people further encrypts the information. Limited health literacy increases all healthcare risks and could lead to poor health.

Patients are entitled to ask for a simplified version of any advice presented by their doctor; this can help bridge the gap of understanding during GP visits. Although this still leaves taking prescription medication at home. How does one understand the prescription directions? People with lower health literacy often fail to adhere to at home medication regimens. Compliance is of the utmost importance to people who suffer from thyroid issues. The thyroid controls all metabolic functions for every single cell of the body. The symptoms associated with thyroid problems range in severity, medication keeps them in check. A malfunctioning thyroid gland can be effectively managed and treated. Your doctor will prescribe medication that either replaces the thyroid hormone your body isn’t producing or stifles the overproduction dependent on what type of thyroid problem you have.  You should take your medication every day, usually at the same time of day. Try associating your pill with a part of your daily routine such as taking it with breakfast so that you remember to take it at the same time. Always refill your prescription early so that you don’t run out, plan ahead to ensure no missed doses. Continue to take your medication even after symptoms subside.

For hypothyroidism doctors usually prescribe Liothyronine because it is a man-made hormone that mimics the hormone that should be produced by the body. Thyroid problems are usually a lifelong condition. Medication often has to be carried on for the rest of your life so it is important that you know and understand what you should do with it.

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Paul Petersen

Paul Petersen