Hyperthyroidism / Overactive Thyroid – Conditions

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Overview

Hyperthyroidism/overactive thyroid is the production of high amounts of thyroid hormones, a condition which is also known as thyrotoxicosis.

Thyroid is a little butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck region. It secretes hormones that affect your heart rate, body temperature and other physiological functions, among others.

Too much of these hormones may lead to discomfort and, in some instances, to serious adverse effects.

Overactive thyroid illness may affect anybody, but it is 10 times more common in women than in men, and typically begins around 20 to 40 years of age.

Hyperthyroidism, which speeds up your body’s metabolism, may lead to undesired weight loss and a quick or irregular pulse.

Hyperthyroidism may be treated in many ways. Doctors use anti-thyroid medicines and radioactive iodine to reduce thyroid hormone production in the body. 

Causes

The illness known as hyperthyroidism may be caused by a variety of factors. Plummer’s disease, Graves’ disease, and thyroiditis are just a few of the illnesses that may cause hyperthyroidism in certain people. Graves’ disease, which is an autoimmune condition, is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism in adults. Antibodies cause the thyroid to generate an excessive quantity of hormone, which is detrimental to health. Graves’ illness affects women at a higher rate than men. It is often passed down via generations, indicating a genetic link.

The thyroid gland may become inflamed by an autoimmune disease or other causes during pregnancy. Excess thyroid hormone stored in the gland may escape into your blood as a result of inflammation. In certain cases, thyroiditis may be uncomfortable, but generally painless. Thyroid nodules are lumps that develop on the thyroid gland. Thyroid tissue lumps may become hyperactive, resulting in the production of an excessive amount of thyroid hormone.

Other causes include:

  • Excess iodine
  • Tumors of the testes or ovaries
  • Tumors of pituitary or thyroid gland
  • Elevated thyroid levels due to the intake of dietary supplements or medicine

Symptoms

It is possible that a high level of thyroid hormones will result in an excessively high metabolic rate. This is referred to as a hypermetabolic condition. If you have hypermetabolic syndrome, you may notice that your heart rate is racing, your blood pressure is high, and your hands are shaking. You may also suffer excessive perspiration and have a poor heat tolerance, among other things. Women who have hyperthyroidism may have increased bowel movements, weight loss, and irregular menstrual periods, among other symptoms.

An enlarged thyroid gland known as goiter, may develop, which may be symmetrical or one-sided in appearance. Exophthalmos, or the appearance of big eyes, is a sign of this condition and is thought to be associated with Grave’s disease. 

Other hyperthyroidism symptoms include:

  • Nervousness
  • Increased hunger
  • Restlessness
  • The inability to focus
  • Difficulties with erratic heartbeat
  • Brittle and falling off of hair
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Thinning of the skin

Breast growth is one of the thyroid symptoms in men, while hyperthyroidism in women shows as an irregular menstrual cycle.

Atrial fibrillation, a severe arrhythmia that may progress to strokes and congestive heart failure, can be caused by hyperthyroidism.

Older people are more likely to experience minor symptoms, such as an elevated heart rate, heat intolerance, and fatigue during everyday tasks.

Diagnosis

The first stage in the identification of an illness is to have a complete medical history and a physical examination. The following are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism: 

  • Rapid weight loss
  • Fast pulse
  • High blood pressure
  • Enlarged eyeballs
  • An enlarged thyroid gland

Additional tests may be carried out to confirm hyperthyroidism diagnosis. They include:

Cholesterol Test: It may be necessary for your doctor to examine your cholesterol levels. Low cholesterol may be an indication that your body burns rapidly at a higher metabolic rate.

T3 and T4: These tests assess the amount of thyroid hormone in your blood. These tests are particularly important in the elderly, who may not show any of the usual hyperthyroidism signs that are seen in younger individuals.

TSH: It is a pituitary hormone which promotes the production of hormones in the thyroid gland. Your TSH should be lower if your thyroid hormone levels are normal or high. The initial indication of hyperthyroidism may be an unusually low TSH.

Triglyceride: Your amount of triglyceride may also be checked. Low triglycerides may be an indication of an increased metabolic rate, similar to low cholesterol.

Thyroid Scan: If your thyroid is hyperactive, your doctor may use this information to evaluate if you have it. It may reveal whether overactivity is caused by the whole thyroid gland or by a specific area of the gland.

Ultrasound: It can assess the size and mass of the whole thyroid gland.

MRI/CT Scan: It may reveal whether there is a pituitary tumor that causes the illness.

Treatment

Medication: Antithyroid medicines work by inhibiting the thyroid’s ability to produce hormones. They are the most common treatment option.

Radioactive Iodine: More than 70% of Americans who have hyperthyroidism get radioactive iodine. It has an important influence on the cells that produce hormones and effectively destroy them.

Typical adverse effects of this therapy method include dry mouth, dry eyes, painful throat, and altered taste sensations. It is possible that precautions may need to be taken immediately after treatment in order to avoid the spread of radiation to others.

Surgery: Surgical removal of a part or the whole thyroid gland is another option. To prevent an underactive thyroid, you will need to take thyroid hormone supplements. Beta blockers may help you control your fast pulse, high blood pressure, sweating and anxiety. The majority of people respond well to this treatment.

When To See a Doctor?

A doctor should be seen if you are suffering unexplained weight loss, fast heartbeat, excessive perspiration, swelling at the base of your neck, or any other signs of an overactive thyroid. Because many of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism may be mistaken for those of a variety of different illnesses, it is critical that you explain the changes you have seen to your doctor in detail.

If you have been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism or are presently being treated for it, visit your doctor on a frequent basis as directed so that the doctor can keep track of your progress.


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