Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. This can cause a severe acceleration of the body’s metabolic rate.
The condition can be difficult for your doctor to diagnose because hyperthyroidism can mimic other health conditions, such as high blood pressure, depression, osteoporosis and infertility.
The symptoms of hyperthyroidism can include a sudden weight loss without a change in appetite, a rapid heart rate and increased nervousness and anxiety attacks. NHS Heroes Doctors A person who suffers from hyperthyroidism may have an increased intolerance to heat, and they may sweat a lot. Hyperthyroidism can cause tremors of the hands, and it can cause sleep disorders.
There are a number of reasons why the thyroid gland produces too much thyroxine. One of the more common conditions is Graves’ Disease.This is an autoimmune disorder in which antibodies produced by your body will stimulate the thyroid gland to produce too much thyroxine. Unfortunately, no treatment is available at this time that can regulate the production of thyroid hormone when antibodies have stimulated the thyroid gland.
Treatment consists of permanently stopping production through medication or surgery and using thyroid replacement hormone to regulate the body.
Another cause of hyperthyroidism is inflammation of the thyroid gland. While the trigger for this inflammation is often not discovered, the inflammation will cause excess thyroxine that is stored in the gland to leak out into your blood stream and cause secondary side effects of high thyroid levels.
If you believe you are experiencing these symptoms, seek the advice of your primary care physician who can test the thyroid using both simple blood tests and a physical examination to look for an enlarged thyroid gland.
If the blood test is abnormal and your doctor suspects hyperthyroidism, he may order more tests to find the exact cause of the hyperthyroidism. If an exact cause can be determined it will significantly improve the ability of the physician to successfully treat the condition and potentially save the thyroid gland.
When hyperthyroidism is left untreated it can lead to serious complications.These complications can include heart problems, brittle bones and red, swollen skin.
The most serious complication is called a thyrotoxic crisis. This crisis can lead to fever, a rapid pulse and even delirium.
If this occurs, immediate medical treatment is necessary or death can occur.
Hyperthyroidism can be treated in several ways, usually determined by the cause of the condition when it is found. One treatment protocol involves taking radioactive iodine which will be slowly absorbed by the thyroid gland and cause it to shrink. This will allow the symptoms to subside, but it will also completely destroy the ability of the thyroid gland to produce hormone. Your physician will monitor your thyroid hormone production and prescribe hormone replacement as your levels drop.
You may be prescribed anti-thyroid medications to prevent the thyroid from producing excess amounts of hormones. Your doctor may also prescribe beta blockers because they will keep your heart rate under control until your thyroid gland stops producing excess amounts of hormones.
If none of the above treatments work your doctor may decide that a thyroidectomy is the best treatment. This is a surgery that removes most of your thyroid gland. However, with this surgery there is a risk of damage to the nearby vocal cords and parathyroids.
After successful treatment of your hyperthyroidism it is important that you talk with your doctor about any lifestyle changes you should make. You may need to supplement your diet with calcium, and you may need to add extra calories if your weight becomes an issue.