Hyperthyroidism Causes and Symptoms
Condition in which a person has too much of thyroid hormones in the body is known as hyperthyroidism or thyrotoxicosis. Healthy thyroid gland is necessary for healthy metabolism of the human organism. The gland produces and releases certain hormones, named T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine). Thyroxine is hormone known to regulate the growth, metabolic processes and digestion in the body. Heartbeats and body temperature are also regulated by T4.
Hyperthyroidism may be genetically predisposed, meaning that a person may inherit this condition. People using too much of thyroid hormone drug or someone using too much iodine (eating seaweed and liver in large quantities) can also experience hyperthyroidism. Other possible reasons for development of hyperthyroidism include thyroiditis, Grave’s disease, Plummer’s disease or some pituitary tumors.
There are many symptoms that may lead your doctor to suspect you are suffering from hyperthyroidism. Enlarged thyroid gland or goiter is one of the most obvious symptoms. Other physical signs of hyperthyroidism can include trembling hands, itchiness of the skin, unexplained weight loss with increased appetite, increase in bowel movements, diarrhea, weakness of the muscles and hair loss. Many times these patients experience heart palpitations, become extremely intolerant to the heat and sweat excessively. Some of the patients suffering from hyperthyroidism may show eye irritation or protruding eyeballs. However, the later is present only in Grave’s disease.
People affected by this condition may also experience nervousness, irritability and different problems with memory and attention. Most patients feel extremely tired and suffer from insomnia.
Thyroid storm is a possible complication of Grave’s disease, set off by stress, infection, injury or even a certain surgical procedure. These patients may experience high fever, vomiting, rapid heart rate, hypertension, extreme irritability and delirium. In case of such complications patients must seek an urgent medical assistance.
Your doctor will decide on the treatment depending on your age, form and severity of hyperthyroidism you are suffering from and also on some other medical conditions you might have.
Treatment options may include radioactive iodine therapy, drug treatment and surgical procedure.
In many cases doctors advise their patients to start the treatment with medications. There are two drugs used as anti-thyroid medications: methimazole and propylthiouracil. Sometimes, doctor may prescribe an additional drug from the group of beta blockers like propranolol.
Radioactive iodine is an option when drug treatment fails to provide with results. Surgical procedures are recommended for patients with large goiter or for those who don’t want or can’t be treated with radioactive iodine. Surgery involves surgical removal of one part or a complete thyroid gland, depending on the over-activity of the gland.