When an individual has an overactive thyroid they are diagnosed with “Hyperthyroidism.” This condition is an abnormal problem dealing with the thyroid, it causes it to produce too much of the hormone thyroxine. This results in a number of symptoms and conditions. This is the opposite of an underactive thyroid, which slows the metabolism and causes weight gain. Since the thyroid regulates hormones in your body that control nearly every aspect of your health, it makes a huge impact if a thyroid condition develops.
Symptoms of Having an Overactive Thyroid
An Overactive Thyroid presents a multitude of symptoms that may resemble other medical disorders, making it difficult to pinpoint whether or not a person truly has a thyroid disorder. The first symptom to be on the watch for is dramatic weight loss. While some people may welcome this, it can be a serious sign of a disturbed hormonal balance. Sudden weight loss can be host to several other problems as well because it overworks the body organs such as the heart, kidneys, bladder and more.
Rapid heart beat, jitteriness, and sweating are three basic symptoms associated with thyroid problems. You may feel shaky and uneasy, as well as like you need to constantly move around. Changes in menstrual problems are a major indicator of the condition as well. A person that has an overactive thyroid may also begin being unable to tolerate heat. This can lead to cases of heat stroke even within normal conditions within the home.
Muscle weakness, sleep disorders, and a large swelling at the base of your neck are all symptoms of having an overactive thyroid. It can also cause difficulty with thinking. All of these effects can cause a wide range of feelings in anyone that has the disorder. Depression could also occur because of the sudden hormonal changes within the body.
Causes of Hyperthyroid Disorder
Graves’s disease may look frightening to some people, but it is not just an aesthetic problem, but a painful condition as well. Grave’s disease causes bulging or buggy eyes, redness and swelling around the eyes, discomfort, and painful vision. A person with this disorder may have difficulty going in sunlight for extended periods of time.
Iodine can also cause a thyroid condition. The human body wasn’t made to process large amounts of this chemical, therefore too much can be damaging to the thyroid. Not enough iodine can also cause defects. It is important to have a healthy diet that includes the right range of iodine within it.
Viral infections and sickness can cause swelling in the neck and thyroid. If this happens often and severely enough to someone, then a thyroid condition can develop. Underlying conditions which cause hormonal imbalances could also trigger hyperthyroidism.
Women can develop a hyperthyroid condition after giving birth that may cause future problems with birthing. This happens to around 7% of women and isn’t fatal, but can be harmful to the reproductive system. This can also be triggered by increased estrogen levels and other hormonal imbalances such as with the use of birth control which could trigger hyperthyroidism.
Diagnosis of Thyroid Disorders
To properly diagnose an individual for hyperthyroid disorder, they must undergo a series of blood tests and exams. Accurate diagnosis is an important step towards recover. The sooner the patient is diagnosed, the better off they are. These blood tests will determine the amount of hormones within the blood and how they interact with the body. They can pinpoint several different hormonal imbalances which could be linked to hyperthyroidism.
Test results will usually indicate that the thyroid hormone is low or higher than needed. The T3 and free T4 will be higher than normal. Cholesterol, glucose, B-12, and Triglycerides will be abnormal and may indicate a thyroid condition. If thyroid disorders run in your family it is important to get checked routinely for the disorder. Women are more likely to develop an overactive thyroid and they should be checked regularly for symptoms. Having preexisting conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and other ailments could cause stress on the body which in turn could trigger thyroid disorders which could develop into hyperthyroidism.
Luckily thyroid disorders are very easily treated with modern technology. Patients that have severe cases of overactive thyroid may experience sickness and other unpleasant symptoms, but even then it is rarely life threatening. The only time it can become dangerous is when the patient experiences a rapidly worsening condition. Treatment can come in various forms depending on how severe the condition is for the person.
Treatment Options for those With Hyperthyroidism
There are a number of treatments available. When treated quickly enough a thyroid condition isn’t usually destructive, but it does require careful treatment of symptoms. Anti-thyroid medication is the number one way to treat a thyroid problem. This is usually the first stage of any treatment process so that the doctor can accurately gauge the severity of the condition and what else may be done. These medications are referred to as “Beta Blockers” and there are different pill options for people in the US and the UK.
Radioactive treatment may also be used to prevent excess hormones from being created. This treatment has a lot of other side effects as well, so patients must always ask questions before undergoing treatment. There are some alternatives if the patient prefers not to undergo any radioactive therapy. Radioactive treatments can also cause a wide range of side effects as severe as cancers in some cases.
Surgery can remove the thyroid as well, but this also poses a large number of risks. If you undergo surgery for removal of the thyroid, the patient must remain on hormone therapy medications for the remainder of their life. These hormones are also packed with side effects that range from hair loss to depression. As any patient can imagine, that is a costly and complicated treatment option. Removals are usually done as a last resort and only if 100% necessary. Surgery takes an entire day or more in a hospital, and also requires down time to recover. Missing hormone supplements can also cause a wide range of complications for those who undergo surgery.
Treatment for the symptoms a person experiences with this condition are also available. There are shots and medications to control rapid heart beat and other unpleasant symptoms. These medications must be chosen by an experienced doctor. Some medications interact negatively with hyperthyroidism and may cause more severe problems. It is important to explain any and all concerns you have when you are taking treatments with your doctor.
Living With Hyperthyroidism
If you have hyperthyroidism you know how difficult it can be to live with a thyroid that produces too many hormones. You may feel unsure of yourself and even self conscious due to weight loss and an inability to gain weight. Living with hyperthyroidism is possible with a treatment plan designed specifically for you. A doctor can help answer all of your questions to get you on the right path to treatment and good health. The prognosis of most hyperthyroid patients comes with a positive outlook and can be treated through a variety of means. Make sure to look for help whenever you have concerns.