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Hyperthyroidism Information

Hyperthyroidism is the clinical syndrome caused by an excess of circulating free thyroxine or free triiodothyronine, or both. Hyperthyroidism can significantly accelerate your body's metabolism, causing sudden weight loss, a rapid or irregular heartbeat, sweating, and nervousness or irritability. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid releases too many of its hormones over a short or long period of time. Although there are several different causes of hyperthyroidism, most of the symptoms that patients experience are the same regardless of the cause. The many types of hyperthyroidism include Graves' disease and toxic nodular goiter. Very rarely, hyperthyroidism may be caused by the pituitary gland making too much thyroid-stimulating hormone, which causes the thyroid gland to produce too much thyroid hormone. Hyperthyroidism is also known as thyrotoxicosis or an overactive thyroid. Patients with hyperthyroidism usually experience fatigue at the end of the day, but have trouble sleeping. Trembling of the hands and a hard or irregular heartbeat (called palpitations) may develop. In Graves' disease, which is the most common form of hyperthyroidism, the eyes may look enlarged because the upper lids are elevated. Sometimes, one or both eyes may bulge. A malignant (cancerous) tumour known as a thyroid adenocarcinoma can also be an underlying cause of some cases of hyperthyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism can be caused by an excessive intake of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. Other causes of hyperthyroxinemia are not to be confused with true hyperthyroidism and include subacute and other forms of thyroiditis. Another type of hyperthyroidism is characterized by one or more nodules or lumps in the thyroid that may gradually grow and increase their activity so that the total output of thyroid hormone into the blood is greater than normal. This condition is known as toxic nodular or multinodular goiter. Symptoms of toxic nodular goiter do not include bulging eyes or skin problems, as in Graves' disease. The cause of toxic nodular goiter is not known. Usually the symptoms of hyperthyroidism are so gradual in their onset that patients don't realize the symptoms until they become more severe. This means the symptoms may continue for weeks or months before patients fully realize that they are sick. Hyperthyroidism usually begins slowly. At first, the symptoms may be mistaken for simple nervousness due to stress. Patients with mild disease usually experience no symptoms. In patients older than 70 years, the classical manifestations may also be absent. In general, the symptoms become more obvious as the condition worsens. Several treatment options are available if you have hyperthyroidism. Doctors use anti-thyroid medications and radioactive iodine to slow the production of thyroid hormones.

Causes of Hyperthyroidism

The common causes and risk factor's of Hyperthyroidism include the following:

  • Graves' disease.
  • Toxic thyroid adenoma.
  • Subacute and other forms of thyroiditis (inflammation).
  • Abnormal secretion of TSH.
  • Non-cancerous growths of the thyroid gland or pituitary gland.
  • Ingestion of excessive iodine.

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

Some sign and symptoms related to Hyperthyroidism are as follows:

  • Weight loss.
  • Frequent bowel movements.
  • Increased appetite.
  • Restlessness.
  • Skin blushing or flushing.
  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Protruding eyes (exophthalmos).
  • Constant hunger.

Treatment of Hyperthyroidism

Here is list of the methods for treating Hyperthyroidism:

  • Use of antithyroid drugs that help lower the level of thyroid hormones in the blood.
  • Beta-blockers like propranolol are used to treat some of the symptoms including rapid heart rate, sweating, and anxiety until the hyperthyroidism can be controlled.
  • Radioactive Iodine: This medicine eliminates hyperthyroidism permanently by killing thyroid tissue.
  • Surgery may be to remove the whole thyroid or a part of it. some Graves' disease patients who cannot tolerate medicines for one reason or another or patients who refuse radioiodine opt for surgical intervention.
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