There are around 42 million people in India suffering from different kinds of thyroid diseases. And hyperthyroidism is one of them. It is the condition when the thyroid gland produces more thyroid hormones than required by the body.
Thyroid is a small gland in the shape of a butterfly found in the front of our neck. Thyroid hormones control the way in which energy is used by the body. Hence, they affect almost all organs in our body. It even controls how the heart beats or how quickly one can burn off calories. Our body’s metabolism is regulated by the hormones released by the thyroid gland.
As the name suggests a person suffering from hyperthyroidism has an overactive thyroid gland that produces the hormone thyroxin in excess. This results in an increased metabolic rate and other symptoms.
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
Following are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism:
- Muscle weakness or fatigue
- Mood swing
- Hand tremors
- Rapid heartbeat
- Anxiety, nervousness, and irritability
- Skin dryness
- Irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations
- Weight loss
- Trouble sleeping
- Light or irregular menstruation
- Increased appetite
- Hair loss, fine and brittle hair
- Vomiting and nausea
- Inability to focus or concentrate
- Frequent bowel movements
- Skin thinning
Causes of Hyperthyroidism
There are different conditions that can lead to hyperthyroidism. The most common cause is the autoimmune disorder called Graves’ disease. It makes antibodies to stimulate the thyroid resulting in excessive secretion of the hormone. Graves’ disease is more common in women than men and also has a genetic link to it.
Other causes include:
- Overactive thyroid nodules
- Consumption of too much iodine
- Tumors of the testes or ovaries
- Benign tumors of the pituitary gland or the thyroid
- Consumption of certain medications meant to treat heart diseases, hypothyroid, etc.
- Follicular thyroid
If not controlled or left untreated, hyperthyroidism can cause serious issues with the muscles, bones like osteoporosis, menstrual cycle, fertility and especially the heart. The common heart-related ailments due to hyperthyroidism include cardiac dilation, arrhythmia, hypertension, and sudden cardiac arrest.
During pregnancy, if hyperthyroidism is not controlled or treated properly, it can cause health problems for the mother and the fetus.
Diagnosis of Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism is diagnosed through:
- Medical history and physical exam- This includes checking for the symptoms such as tremors, increased reflexes, changes in eyes and skin.
- Blood Tests- Detects the levels of T3, T4, and TSH. Triglyceride levels and blood cholesterol levels are also detected by running blood tests.
Your Doctor may recommend you some additional tests to pinpoint the exact cause of hyperthyroidism. These are:
- Radioactive Iodine Uptake Test- This test is done to find out how the thyroid gland takes in and absorbs the iodine dose administered orally for production of thyroid hormones.
- Thyroid Scan- An oral iodine dose or a dye-injection test is done to enable visualization of the thyroid gland on a computer. This helps in identifying whether the whole or a part of the thyroid gland is affected.
- Thyroid Ultrasound Scan- To identify the enlargement of the thyroid gland and surrounding areas.
- MRT or CT Scan- Scanning of the specified region in case of a suspected tumor.
Treatment of Hyperthyroidism
The primary line of treatment is to bring down the thyroid levels to normal and control the symptoms.
- Anti-Thyroid Medicines- These medications will prevent the excess production of thyroid hormone.
- Radioactive Iodine- Radioactive iodine is given orally to destroy the cells responsible for thyroid production. It causes the gland to shrink slowly and lowers the thyroid activity.
- Symptomatic Treatment- The physician would take a note of all the symptoms and prescribe medicines for the same depending on the patient’s age, other ailments, cause and extent of hyperthyroidism.
- Surgery- Some cases may require the removal of a certain part of the thyroid gland surgically. At times, surgical treatments like orbital decompression surgery or eye muscle surgery may also be needed to treat Graves’ disease.
Hyperthyroidism can be controlled with proper treatment and lifestyle modification. So if you are looking for an expert opinion or are recommended for a thyroid test visit us at https://www.nightingales.in/
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