Located just above the collarbone towards the base of your throat is the thyroid, which is a small butterfly-shaped gland that is responsible for managing important things like how fast your heart beats and how quickly you burn calories. This system releases hormones that control the body's metabolism, and if you have hyperthyroidism, this means that your thyroid is overactive, and produces excessive amounts of the hormone known as thyroxine. This problem can significantly lead to speed-ups in your metabolism that result in a number of uncomfortable symptoms.
A variety of different conditions can be responsible for hyperthyroidism. For instance, Graves' disease, which is a type of autoimmune disorder, is one of the most common causes of hyperthyroidism. This condition causes antibodies to stimulate the thyroid gland so that it secretes a larger amount of the hormone. The disease is more common in women than men, and it tends to run through genetic pools. Some other causes of hyperthyroidism might include tumors in the testes or ovaries, thyroiditis, or a type of thyroid inflammation that causes T4 and T3 to leak from the gland. Problems may also begin with benign tumors in the pituitary gland and thyroid, and large amounts of tetraiodothyronine that is taken through medication and dietary supplements.
Hyperthyroidism Signs and Symptoms:
Higher than usual levels of T3 and T4 can cause a significantly higher-than-normal metabolic rate which is called a hypermetabolic state. When the body is in this state, you might experience a rapid heart-rate, high blood pressure, and various other conditions, such as tremors in your hand. You might also develop a low tolerance for heat and sweat a great deal. Hyperthyroidism can also cause you to have more frequent bowel movements, suffer from weight loss and experience irregularities in your menstrual cycle.
Additionally, the actual thyroid gland itself might swell into a goiter, which can be one-sided or symmetrical. Your eyes might also seem to bulge or appear more prominent, which is a sign of a condition commonly associated with Graves' disease. Other signs and symptoms that are linked to hyperthyroidism include:
- Vomiting and nausea
- Itching and restlessness
- Increased appetite
- Nervousness and difficulty sleeping
- Brittle, fine hair, or hair loss
- Problems with concentration
- Strange heart beat
- Development of breasts in men
Typically, the first step in treating hyperthyroidism is the use of medications like methimazole that stop the thyroid from over-reacting. Additionally, radioactive iodine might be given to many adults with hyperthyroidism, as this helps to destroy the cells that produce excess hormones. In very severe cases of the condition, a part or all of your thyroid gland may need to be surgically removed. During this time, you will need to take thyroid supplement hormones that should prevent the onset of another issue called hypothyroidism, which happens when your thyroid secretes a very low amount of the necessary hormones.
Additionally, beta-blockers such as propranolol might control sweating, rapid pulse, high blood pressure and anxiety.