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What is Hyperthyroidism? What are the symptoms of Hyperthyroidism?

Verified By Dr Arsheed Hussain Hakeem December 15, 2020 6218 0
What is Hyperthyroidism What are the symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
What is Hyperthyroidism What are the symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is a health condition that develops when your thyroid glands produce more thyroid hormone than your body needs. This condition is also known as an overactive thyroid and can lead to many health complications such as weight loss without trying, irregular heartbeat, brittle bones, etc.

About thyroid and hyperthyroidism

The thyroid is a small gland that sits on the lower front side of your neck, in the shape of a butterfly. It produces hormones called T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine) that regulate how your body utilizes energy. T3 and T4 affect almost every body part and control many of your crucial bodily functions, including your weight, heart rate, mood, bone health, and digestion.

In hyperthyroidism, your thyroid gland happens to produce more thyroid hormones than the body’s requirement. Although this condition can cause severe health complications involving your bones, muscles, heart, and even fertility, treatment is possible . The treatments have been beneficial for the majority of people.

What are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism?

One of the biggest problems with hyperthyroidism is, its symptoms can mimic other health conditions. Let us take a  look at the signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism:

  • Weight loss without trying, even when your diet or appetite are the same or you have increased your food intake.
  • Tachycardia or rapid heartbeat (more than 100 beats/minute)
  • Arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat
  • Palpitations (a racing or pounding heart)
  • Increased appetite
  • Irritability
  • A feeling of anxiety and nervousness
  • Light tremors in your fingers and hands
  • Excessive sweating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Thinning of skin and hair
  • Brittle hair
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Muscular weakness
  • Heat intolerance or sensitivity to heat
  • Changes in your menstrual cycle or patterns
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Formation of goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland) that may resemble a swelling

In older adults, there might be no signs or symptoms at all, or even if they experience any symptoms, those are subtle, like intolerance to heat, unexplained tiredness, increased heart rate, etc.

Is Graves’ ophthalmopathy another symptom of hyperthyroidism?

Graves’ ophthalmopathy is also known as thyroid eye disease or Grave’s eye disease. It is an autoimmune health complication in which your immune cells attack your thyroid gland, and in turn, the latter produces thyroid hormone in excess.

As the same suggests, Grave’s eye disease affects your eyes. Some of the common signs and symptoms of Grave’s eye disease include the following:

  • Eyes protruding beyond the normal protecting orbits
  • Swollen eyes
  • Dry or red eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurry vision
  • Reduced eye movement
  • Discomfort in eyes
  • Excessive tearing

When to see a doctor?

It is vital to pay a visit to your doctor’s clinic if you experience weight loss for no reason, swelling, or discomfort at the lower portion of your neck, or any other signs or symptoms.

Make sure to discuss every change you have been observing in your body. At times, the signs of hyperthyroidism might look like the symptoms of any other health condition. Only your doctor can identify whether or not a given symptom is associated with hyperthyroidism.

If you have been undergoing treatment for an overactive thyroid, make sure to go to your doctor regularly or as and when prescribed so that your doctor can monitor your symptoms.

Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment

 Why are thyroid hormones are produced in excess?

There could be several factors leading to the increased production of thyroid hormones. It includes the following:

  • Grave’s disease

This is an autoimmune ailment in which your immune system produces antibodies that stimulate your thyroid gland leading to the overproduction of T4. It is one of the most common factors that cause hyperthyroidism.

  • Plummer’s disease or toxic multinodular goiter

After Grave’s disease, Plummer’s disease is one of the most common reasons for an overactive thyroid. It develops when adenomas (a tumor that is not malignant) of your thyroid gland lead to the overproduction of T4.

  • Thyroiditis

In some cases, there could be an inflammation in the thyroid gland after pregnancy due to an autoimmune disorder or any unexplained cause. It can lead to the secretion of  excess hormones stored in your gland into your bloodstream.

  • Excessive iodine consumption

You can find iodine in several medications, seaweed-based health products, and food items. Consuming such products in excess can also lead to an overactive thyroid gland.

Who is at  risk of developing hyperthyroidism?

Several risk-factors classify some groups as high-risk for developing hyperthyroidism. The list of risk-factors is as follows: 

  • Age  more than 60-years
  • If you are a female
  • If you are pregnant
  • If you have given birth in the last 6-months
  • Having a family history of any thyroid disorder
  • If you have type 1 diabetes
  • If you have primary adrenal insufficiency
  • If you have pernicious anemia (B12 anemia)

Make sure to be careful if you think you are at risk and consult your doctor for regular monitoring for sure.

What are the complications of hyperthyroidism?

As the thyroid hormones affect more or less every part of your body, hyperthyroidism can lead to many health complications, including the following:

  • Cardiovascular or heart complications

Hyperthyroidism can affect your heart in several ways, causing severe complications. It includes the following:

  • Atrial fibrillation (a heart rhythm condition) puts you at a higher risk of stroke.
    • An increased heart rate
    • Congestive heart failure (a health condition in which your heart fails to pump sufficient blood to meet your body’s requirements)

Hyperthyroidism, if left untreated, can make your bones weak and brittle. This condition is known as osteoporosis. Excessive production of the thyroid hormone is likely to prevent your body from absorption of calcium (needed for bone strength) into your bones.

  • Thyrotoxic crisis

Your symptoms are likely to escalate if this happens, leading to increased pulse beat, fever, or hallucination. In such situations, it is crucial to seek immediate medical assistance.

  • Inflamed or swollen skin

People who have Grave’s disease are likely to develop Graves’ dermopathy in which their skin may swell and become red, particularly on the feet and shins.

  • Eye problems

People who have Grave’s disease are prone to developing various eye problems, such as increased sensitivity to light, swollen eyes, red eyes, and bulging eyes. These issues, if not treated, may also lead to loss of vision.

What are the treatment options for hyperthyroidism?

  • Your doctor is most likely to treat you depending on your age, your test reports, current physical condition, and underlying or pre-existing health condition (if any). The treatment options include the following:
  • Radioactive iodine
    • Thyroid medication
    • Surgery
  • If you have Graves’ ophthalmopathy, then your doctor may recommend:
    • Orbital decompression surgery
    • Eye muscle surgery

Stay healthy with hyperthyroidism!

Once you start with your hypothyroidism treatment, you will feel better as your symptoms improve gradually. In most cases, the doctors recommend maintaining a diet and a regular check of  the amount of iodine you consume. Excessive iodine consumption can be detrimental for people with an overactive thyroid. Make sure to follow what your doctor recommends and do not miss your follow-up examination dates.

Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment

Verified By Dr Arsheed Hussain Hakeem
MBBS, MS(ENT), DNB(ENT), FHNS(Fellowship head and neck oncology/surgery,Mumbai),
Consultant Surgical Oncologist (Head and Neck),
Apollo Cancer Institute, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad

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