Hyperthyroidism symptoms are often the same amongst different individuals, however, learning about them is important.
Hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid occurs when your thyroid produces excess hormone thyroxine.
It can cause the metabolism of your body to accelerate, leading to unintentional weight loss and a rapid or irregular heartbeat.
In some cases, this condition can cause Grave’s Ophthalmopathy.
This condition can affect your eyes especially if you are a smoker and makes your eyeballs protrude beyond their normal protective orbits.
There are a number of treatments for hyperthyroidism.
Moreover, doctors use anti-thyroid medications and radioactive iodine to slow the production of thyroid hormones.
In some cases, hyperthyroidism treatment can involve surgery to remove all or part of your thyroid gland.
Hyperthyroidism can be a serious condition if you do not get treatment.
Thus, you will respond well to the treatment.
Let’s learn more about it in detail.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition of your thyroid.
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that is present at the front of your neck.
It produces hormones, tetraiodothyronine, T4, and triiodothyronine, T2.
These are 2 primary hormones that control how your cells use energy.
Your thyroid gland, moreover, regulates your metabolism through the release of these hormones.
Hyperthyroidism occurs when your thyroid makes too much T4, T3. or both.
Its diagnosis can help treat the underlying cause, thus, relieving the symptoms can help and prevent complications.
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Causes of Hyperthyroidism
There are a number of conditions that can cause hyperthyroidism.
Graves’ Disease is an autoimmune disorder, that causes hyperthyroidism.
It causes antibodies to stimulate the thyroid to secrete too much hormone.
Grave’s diseases occur more often in women than in men and tend to run in the families.
This suggests that there is a genetic link or certain genes that can lead to it.
Thus, you should tell your doctor if you have anyone in the family with this condition.
Other causes of hyperthyroidism are as follows:
Excess iodine, which is a key ingredient in T4 and T3, thyroiditis, or inflammation of the thyroid, which causes T4 and T3 to leak out of the gland.
Tumors of the ovaries or testes, benign tumors of the thyroid or the pituitary gland.
Moreover, large amounts of tetraiodothyronine, if you consume it through dietary supplements or medications can cause it.
High amounts of T, T3, or both can cause an excessively high metabolic rate.
This is a Hypermetablolic state. When in this state, you may experience a rapid heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and hand tremors.
Moreover, you may also sweat a lot and develop a tolerance for heat.
Hyperthyroidism symptoms also include frequent bowel movements, weight loss, and in women, irregular menstrual cycle.
The hyperthyroidism symptoms also include the swelling of the gland into the goiter.
This can be either symmetrical or one-sided.
Your eye may also appear prominent, which is a sign of exophthalmos.
This condition is related to Graves’ disease.
Other hyperthyroidism symptoms are as follow:
Increase in appetite, nervousness, restlessness, inability to concentrate, weakness, and irregular heartbeat.
Moreover, the symptoms include difficulty sleeping, fine, brittle hair, itching, hair loss, nausea, vomiting, and breast development in men.
It is important to note that the following symptoms require immediate medical attention:
Dizziness, shortness of breath, loss of consciousness, fast or irregular heart rate.
Moreover, this condition can cause atrial fibrillation, a dangerous arrhythmia that can lead to strokes, and congestive heart failure.
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Diagnosis of Hyperthyroidism
The first step in the diagnosis of hyperthyroidism symptoms is a complete medical history and physical exam.
This can reveal the common signs of hyperthyroidism:
Weight loss, rapid pulse, elevated blood pressure, protruding eyes, and enlarged thyroid gland.
Certain tests like a cholesterol test, T4, free T4, and T3 test, thyroid-stimulating hormone level test, triglyceride test, etc, can help.
Let’s discuss these tests as follows:
Tests for Hyperthyroidism
Certain tests can help diagnose to further evaluate your condition.
These are as follows;
Your doctor may need to check your cholesterol levels.
Low cholesterol can be a sign of elevated metabolic rate. In this, your body is burning through cholesterol quickly.
T4, Free T4, T3
These tests help to measure the thyroid hormone in your blood.
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Level Test
TSH is a pituitary gland hormone that stimulates your thyroid gland to produce hormones.
When thyroid hormone levels are normal or high, your TSH should be lower.
However, an abnormally low TSH can be the first sign of hyperthyroidism.
Your doctor may also test triglycerides.
Just like low cholesterol, low triglycerides can be a symptom of an elevated metabolic rate.
Thyroid Scan and Uptake
This test allows your doctor to see if your thyroid is overactive.
Particularly it can tell whether the entire thyroid or just a single area of the gland is causing overactivity.
These can help measure the size of the gland as well as any masses within it.
Your doctor can also use ultrasounds to diagnose whether a mass is solid or cystic.
CT or MRI Scans
This can help show if a pituitary tumor is present that is causing this condition.
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There are different treatment options available. However, the best approach depends on your age, physical condition, the underlying causes, of hyperthyroidism.
The treatment options are:
Oral medication, your thyroid gland absorbs radioactive iodine.
This causes your gland to shrink, and the symptoms usually subside within a few months.
Excessive radioactive iodine disappears from your body within a few weeks to months.
It can cause your thyroid activity to slow enough to be considered underactive or hypothyroidism and you may need to take medications every day to replace thyroxine.
Anti-thyroid medications help to reduce the symptoms of hyperthyroidism by preventing your thyroid gland to produce excess amounts of hormones.
Methimazole and propylthiouracil are the two medications.
Symptoms begin to improve within several weeks to months, however, the treatment continues at least a year and often longer.
For some individuals, this medication may clear the problem permanently, however, some may experience a relapse.
It is important to note that both medications can cause liver damage, sometimes leading to death.
Although this helps to treat high blood pressure, and does not affect thyroid levels, it can ease the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
These symptoms are tremors, rapid heart rate, and palpitations.
For this reason, your doctor may prescribe them to help you feel better until your thyroid levels are close to normal.
However, if you have asthma, it is not a good option for you as side effects can include fatigue and sexual dysfunction.
If you are conceiving or otherwise is unable to tolerate anti-thyroid drugs, and do not want to take radioactive iodine therapy, you may be a candidate for thyroid surgery.
Although surgery or thyroidectomy is an option in only a few cases.
During this surgery, your doctor removes most of your thyroid gland.
The risks of this surgery are damage to the vocal cords and parathyroid glands.
These are 4 tiny glands are present on the back of your thyroid gland that helps to control the level of calcium in your blood.
Additionally, you will need lifelong treatment with levothyroxine to supply your body with normal amounts of thyroid hormone.
However, if your parathyroid gland is also removed, you will need medications to keep the blood calcium levels normal.
Treatment for Graves’ Ophthalmopathy
If Graves’ disease affects your eyes, you will need to manage mild signs and symptoms by using artificial tears and lubricating gels.
Moreover, avoid wind and bright lights.
However, if your symptoms are severe, your doctor may recommend treatment with corticosteroids like prednisone.
These will help to reduce swelling behind your eyeballs,
Two drugs rituximab and teprotumumab help to treat this condition.
It is important to note that in some cases, you may need surgery.
These surgeries are:
Orbital decompression surgery
In this surgery, your doctor will remove the bone between the eye socket and your sinuses.
This helps to improve your vision and provides room for your eyes to return to their normal position.
Eye muscle surgery
In some cases, scar tissues from this condition can cause one or more eye muscles to b too short.
This pulls your eye out of alignment, thus, leading to double vision.
It can help correct double vision by cutting the affected muscle of the eyeball and reattaching it farther back.
Improving Hyperthyroidism Symptoms
To improve the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, you need to eat a proper diet focusing on calcium and sodium.
Moreover, you can work with your doctor to create healthy guidelines for your diet, nutritional supplements, and exercises.
This condition can cause your bones to become weak and thin, thus, leading to osteoporosis.
Taking vitamin D, and calcium supplements during and after the treatment can help to strengthen your bones.
Your doctor can tell how much vitamin D and calcium to take every day.
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To treat the hormones in your body, your doctor can refer you to an endocrinologist. Stress or infection can cause thyroid storms, and it happens when a large amount of thyroid is released and results in a sudden worsening of symptoms. Thus, treatment is important to prevent such conditions and other complications.
The long-term outlook for hyperthyroidism depends on its causes. Some of them go away without treatment, however, for some like Graves’ disease can be life-threatening and affect your long-term life. Early diagnosis and treatment of symptoms are important.