Radioactive Iodine Therapy – Safe and Effective Treatment for Hyperthyroidism
The thyroid gland in the neck produces two hormones that regulate all aspects of the body’s metabolism. When the thyroid gland becomes overactive, it leads to a condition called hyperthyroidism. The thyroid gland absorbs all of the iodine in the blood. Radioactive Iodine therapy is a treatment for an overactive thyroid.
Radioactive iodine is an isotope created from iodine and is used for medical purposes. Patients must have high level of thyroid-stimulating hormone in the blood to take up radioactive iodine. The radioactive iodine is taken as a capsule or liquid. When a form of radioactive iodine is taken into the body, it destroys the thyroid cells that take up iodine without affecting the rest of the body. Radio active iodine is also used to treat thyroid cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Radioactive iodine therapy has improved the survival rate among patients suffering from papillary or follicular thyroid cancer. This treatment is not suitable for the types of cancer that do not absorb iodine.
Short term side effects of radioactive therapy may include neck tenderness, nausea, upset stomach, dry mouth or swelling and tenderness of the salivary glands. It is possible that the thyroid gland will be destroyed with this procedure. Thyroids are essential for metabolism, so the patients might have to take thyroid pills for the rest of their life. Depending on the dose of radioiodine the patient might have to be in the hospital for a few days.
Radioiodine is considered to be the safest, least expensive, and most convenient and effective treatment for hyperthyroidism.