Hyperthyroidism, also known as over active thyroid and hyperthyreosis, is the condition that occurs due to excessive production of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland.The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of the neck below your Adam’s apple. It produces tetraiodothyronine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), two hormones which control how your cells use energy. The process by which cells use energy is called metabolism. Hyperthyroidism occurs when too much T4 and/or T3 is produced.
Hyperthyroidism is present with significant symptoms.Some of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism include nervousness, irritability, increased perspiration, heart racing, hand tremors, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, thinning of the skin, fine brittle hair, and muscular weakness—especially in the upper arms and thighs.
Other symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:
Frequent, loose bowel movements
Eyes that bulge out, or “protrude” (in patients with Graves’ disease)
Hair changes, including brittle hair, thinning hair, and hair loss from scalp
Irregular heart beat (arrhythmia), especially in older adults
Menstrual cycle changes, including lighter bleeding and less frequent periods
Rapid fingernail growth
Rapid heartbeat, usually over 100 beats per minute
Weight loss despite increased appetite
There are several causes of hyperthyroidism. Most often, the entire gland is overproducing thyroid hormone. Less commonly, a single nodule is responsible for the excess hormone secretion, called a “hot” nodule. Thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid) can also cause hyperthyroidism. Functional thyroid tissue producing an excess of thyroid hormone occurs in a number of clinical conditions.
How Is Hyperthyroidism Diagnosed?
Blood tests can confirm a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism. Blood tests include those for thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). This is a hormone released by the pituitary gland to stimulate the thyroid to make thyroid hormone. Other blood tests include measures of thyroid hormone levels (typically elevated) and thyroid-stimulating antibody (called thyroid-stimulating immunoglobin test) to check for Graves’ disease. If your test results are abnormal, your doctor may also order the following tests:
Thyroid ultrasound, or thyroid scan, to check for nodules or inflammation
Radioactive iodine uptake test to see your thyroid’s absorption of iodine
Thyroid scan to see where iodine is in the thyroid
Complications of Hyperthyroidism
It is important to maintain regular, lifelong visits with your doctor if you have hyperthyroidism. Untreated or improperly treated, an overactive thyroid can lead to severe, even life-threatening problems.
People with autoimmune hyperthyroidism should not eat foods high in iodine, such as edible seaweed and kelps. From a public health perspective, the general introduction of iodised salt in the United States in 1924 resulted in lower disease, goiters, as well as improving the lives of children whose mothers would not have eaten enough iodine during pregnancy which would have lowered the IQs of their children.
What you can do at Home to Improve Symptoms
Getting the proper amount of calories, calcium, and sodium during and after treatment is important. A diet with too many calories can result in weight gain or obesity. Talk with your doctor and obtain healthy guidelines for your daily diet, nutritional supplements, and exercise.
Hyperthyroidism also can cause your bones to become thin (osteoporosis). Taking vitamin D and calcium supplements during and after treatment can help strengthen your bones.. Make sure to ask your doctor about how much daily vitamin D and calcium is appropriate for you.