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Take your doc's advice or ask for a referral

DEAR DR. GOTT: Recently, I had some routine blood tests as part of a physical exam. I am 53, and my doctor said I have hypothyroidism. This comes as a surprise, as I had no symptoms other than being tired all the time. I have stable COPD and attributed the fatigue to that. My TSH level is 6.17. My doctor wants me to take levothyroxine, 50 mcg, but I’m a little hesitant, as I am not sure if I really need it.

DEAR READER: Levothyroxine is synthetic thyroid-hormone replacement therapy that can be taken successfully by most people, primarily because thyroid hormone occurs naturally in the body. There are no common side effects. However, when side effects do occur, they can include allergic reactions to one or more of the inactive ingredients and symptoms of hyperthyroidism caused by therapeutic overdose.

If your physician has your complete medical history and believes you should be on replacement therapy, you can either take his or her word for it or you can request a referral for a second opinion.

To provide related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report, “Thyroid Disorders.†Other readers who would like a copy should send a self-addressed stamped No. 10 envelope and a $2 check or money order to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092-0167. Be sure to mention the title or print an order form off my Web site at AskDrGottMD.com.

Peter Gott practiced medicine in Lakeville for 40 years.

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