What is Hyperthyroidism?
The thyroid gland influences almost all of the metabolic processes in your body. Thyroid disorder can be from a small harmless goitre to life threatening cancer. The most common of all thyroid problems is the abnormal production of thyroid hormones. Too much thyroid hormone results in hyperthyroidism. When there is insufficient hormone production then it leads to hypothyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism symptoms checklist
The symptoms of Hyperthyroidism can mimic other health problems also; therefore it becomes difficult for a doctor to diagnose. The signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism are :
1. Sudden weight loss even your appetite and the type and amount of food that you eat remain the same or increase.
2. Rapid heartbeat, irregular heartbeat or pounding of your heart.
3. Increased appetite.
4. Nervousness, anxiety and irritability.
5. Fine trembling in your hands and fingers
7. Changes in menstrual patterns
8. Increased sensitivity to heat
9. Changes in bowel patterns, especially more frequent bowel movements
10. An enlarged thyroid gland (goitre) which may appear as a swelling at the base of your neck.
12. Difficulty in sleeping
13. Skin thinning
14. Fine, brittle hair
Older adults are less likely to have any symptoms or subtle ones such as increased heart rate, heat intolerance or tendency to become tired during ordinary daily activities. Medications called Beta Blockers can mask many of the signs of Hyperthyroidism.
15. Graves ophthalmopathy: You can also suffer from Graves Ophthalmopathy.In this disorder, your eyeballs protrude beyond their normal protective orbits and the tissues and muscles behind your eyes swell.
If you have lost a great deal of weight or your muscles have been wasted then you may benefit from adding extra calories to your diet and protein. Excessive weight gain can also occur when you are being treated for hyperthyroidism. It is thus important to know how much nutrition you are getting from your food without adding extra calories. In addition to these, adding enough amounts of sodium and calcium are important dietary considerations. Because hyperthyroidism can contribute to thinning of bones, it is important to get enough calcium to prevent osteoporosis.
Several treatments are available for hyperthyroidism. The best approach towards these treatments depends upon your age, physical condition and severity of disorder.
1. Radioactive Iodine: Radioactive iodine is supposed to be taken orally and is absorbed by your thyroid gland. It causes the thyroid gland to shrink and symptoms to subside within three to six months.
2. Anti thyroid medications: These medications gradually reduce the symptoms of hyperthyroidism by preventing your thyroid gland from producing excess amounts of hormones. These medications are propylthiouracil and methimazole.Symptoms usually begins to decrease within six to twelve weeks but treatment with anti thyroid medications can continue for a year and often longer.
3. Beta Blockers: These drugs are commonly used to treat high blood pressure. The thyroid levels can’t get reduced.But rapid heart rate and palpitations can be prevented. To make you feel better,your doctor can prescribe them until your thyroid levels are closer to normal.
4. Surgery: If you are pregnant, or can’t tolerate anti thyroid drugs or don’t want to have iodine therapy then you may be a candidate for thyroid surgery, although this is an option in few cases.
If Graves Disease affects your eyes, you can manage mild signs and symptoms by avoiding wind and bright lights and by using artificial tears and lubricating gels. If your symptoms are more severe than your doctor may recommend treatment with corticosteroids to reduce swelling behind the eyeballs. In some cases, surgical procedure can be an option.
All types of hyperthyroidism are due to an overproduction of thyroid hormones, but the condition can occur in several ways:
Graves’ disease: When there is too much production of thyroid hormone.
Toxic adenomas: Sometimes nodules develop in the thyroid gland and begin to secrete thyroid hormones upsetting the body’s chemical balance; some goitre may have several of these nodules.
Subacute Thyroiditis: The thyroid gland gets inflammed that causes the gland to leak excessive hormones resulting in temporary hyperthyroidism that generally lasts for few weeks or months.
Cancerous growths in the thyroid gland or Pituitary gland malfunctions: Although rare, but several cases of hyperthyroidism can develop from this cause.
Hyperthyroidism during Pregnancy
Hyperthyroidism is relatively common in pregnancy and is important to treat. The thyroid gland releases hormones that regulate your metabolism, heart and nervous system and weight.
If you have pre-existing hyperthyroidism, you may require more medical expertise especially in the first trimester. If the pregnant lady have the symptoms including rapid heart beat, loss in weight and constant vomiting, then she should contact her physician.
Untreated thyroid diseases in pregnancy may lead to premature birth, preeclampsia, miscarriage and low birth weight among other problems. It is important to consult a doctor if you have any history of hyperthyroidism so that the treatment can be adjusted accordingly.
Hyperthyroidism and Home Remedies
1. Graves’ Disease: The following suggestions can cool or soothe your eyes or skin:
a. Apply cool compresses to your eyes.
c.Use lubricating eye drops.
d.Elevate the head of your bed.
e.Try over the counter creams for swollen skin
2. Get regular exercise.
3. Learn relaxation techniques.
Hyperthyroidism and Weight Loss
The basal metabolic rate (BMR) in patients with hyperthyroidism is elevated, many patients with overactive thyroid do experience some weight loss.Thus, if the thyroid is extremely overactive, the individual’s Basal Metabolic Rate increases which leads to increased caloric requirements to maintain that weight. If the calories consumed are not increased to match the excess calories burnt, then weight loss will occur. The severe the hyperthyroidism, more severe will be the weight loss.
Hyperthyroidism and infertility
The thyroid makes two important hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4).These hormones regulate a person’s body metabolism, the body’s process of using energy. Metabolism practically affects every function of the body.
The function of the thyroid can affect a woman’s ability to ovulate, thus making it harder to get pregnant.A woman’s natural menstrual cycle can get disrupted when the thyroid gland either produces too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) or too less (hypothyroidism). This in turn affects her ovulation cycle and can impede her ability to get pregnant.But, mediaction can bring back thyroid to start functioning normally.
Hyperthyroidism Hair loss
Loss of hair can occur in severe or prolonged cases of hyperthyroidism. The loss involves the entire scalp rather than discrete areas.Regrowth takes place with successful treatment of the thyroid disorder but it usually takes months time. Mild hyperthyroidism cannot result in loss of hair.
Hyperthyroidism and Diabetes
Diabetic patients have a higher prevalence of thyroid disorder. Thyroid disorders are more common in females suffering Type 1 Diabetes. The presence of thyroid disorder may affect diabetes control. Hyperthyroidism is associated with worsening glycemic control and increased insulin requirements. There is underlying increased hepatic gluconeogenesis, rapid gastrointestinal glucose absorption and increased insulin resistance.
Hyperthyroidism and Hypertension
Hyperthyroidism can invite a case of hypertension in some cases where the case is severe. In such a case both the systolic and diastolic are both elevated.
Hyperthyroidism and Depression
Several cases of hyperthyroidism can accompany with depression. Or it can be vice versa that is, the depression can be an underlying cause of hyperthyroidism in one’s body. It can be treated with correct medication at the right time availability.
Hyperthyroidism and Back Pain
Back Pain is not a common symptom of hyperthyroidism, but it can occur. Hyperthyroidism can result in the weakening of bones which can lead to compression fractures in spine. Complications related to hyperthyroidism can also result in upper back pain and pain in the neck.