Hyperthyroidism is a condition that occurs accordingly to increased activity of the thyroid gland, which is also known as “overactive thyroid.” In this case, the thyroid gland produces excessive hormones (T4 and T3), causing a general acceleration of all the body’s functions. This entails the suffering of a series of physical and psychological symptoms that require specific medical treatment so that the patient can feel well. At FastlyHealwe expand the information on this disease and detail the causes, symptoms, and treatment of hyperthyroidism.
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Causes of hyperthyroidism
The thyroid is a neuroendocrine gland located in the lower front part of the neck. Its function is the production of hormones, which regulate metabolism and actively influence different processes such as control of body temperature, maintenance or weight loss, the speed at which the body uses fats and carbohydrates, and menstrual regularity.
When there is an excess formation of thyroid hormones, hyperthyroidism occurs, a condition that the following factors can cause:
- Graves-Basedow disease
This is the most common cause of an autoimmune disorder in which the defense system attacks healthy tissue, leading to an overactive thyroid gland. This is a more common condition in women over 20 years of age, but it can also occur at any age and occur in men.
It refers to the inflammation of the thyroid gland, which can lead to an excess of stored thyroid hormones going into the bloodstream. It is believed that it may result from a viral infection and is usually accompanied by symptoms such as general malaise and fever.
- Thyroid nodules
It is the growth of lumps in the thyroid gland, which can be benign or cancerous. This condition is more common in women than men, and the chances of developing it increase with age.
In addition to the above, other possible causes of hyperthyroidism are an excess of iodine caused by the intake of foods rich in this mineral in large quantities, the administration of medications, or the performance of diagnostic tests that use iodine. Although it is rare, testicular or ovarian cancer can also cause the uncontrolled production of thyroid hormones.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism can manifest itself by various symptoms, which arise due to the acceleration of the body’s vital functions. Thus, a person with an overactive thyroid can present signs such as:
- Sudden weight loss or increased appetite.
- Irritability, nervousness, mood swings.
- Lack of concentration.
- Insomnia, fatigue, and muscle weakness.
- Palpitations or tachycardia.
- Goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland) or thyroid nodules.
- Tremors in hands and fingers.
- Heat intolerance
- Increased perspiration.
- Changes and irregularities in menstruation.
- Frequent bowel movements.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Red or hot skin.
- Hair loss.
In older people, “apathetic hyperthyroidism” can occur in which the symptoms appear subtly, and even in many cases, only disorders or disturbances in the heart rhythm are observed.
Due to the significant symptoms of hyperthyroidism, it is advisable to consult with the doctor urgently when there are substantial changes in an emotional state, dizziness, or rapid and irregular heartbeat.
In addition to a thorough physical examination, a blood test is performed to diagnose hyperthyroidism, which will measure the levels of thyroid hormones and also assess the levels of cholesterol and glucose.
The treatment of hyperthyroidism will depend in each case on the causative factor and the severity of the symptoms, so based on these criteria, the doctor can decide between the following forms of treatment:
- Antithyroid drugs
Oral antithyroid medications are prescribed, which inhibit the excessive formation of thyroid hormones and usually lessen symptoms for 7 to 15 days. This medication can have side effects such as skin reactions and, therefore, a medical follow-up every 3 or 4 months is convenient. The doctor’s instructions regarding dose and duration of treatment must be respected in any case. In advance, they must be informed if you wish to modify your current medication.
- Radioactive iodine
A dose of radioactive iodine is administered orally, which can destroy a part of the thyroid gland and thus paralyze the excessive production of hormones. However, its main drawback is that it can kill more of the thyroid gland than usual and lead to poor hormone production, known as hypothyroidism.
In some cases, removing the thyroid gland or part of it may be necessary. This occurs especially in thyroid nodules. In the same way as with radioactive iodine, hypothyroidism may arise after the operation, so the patient must take pills that help maintain normal levels of thyroid hormones for life.
Some beta-blocker medications may be recommended, which are indicated to reduce symptoms such as sweating, anxiety, or rapid heart rate until hyperthyroidism can be fully controlled.
This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Hyperthyroidism: causes, symptoms, and treatment, we recommend that you enter our Endocrine System category.
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.