Doctor's Notes on Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism refers to the presence of an overactive thyroid gland or the presence of elevated levels of thyroid hormone. The thyroid gland plays an important role in regulating numerous metabolic processes throughout the body.
Graves' disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Many other health problems, including taking excess thyroid hormone medications, can cause elevated levels of thyroid hormones in the bloodstream.
Signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism may include:
- increased heart rate,
- weight loss,
- heart palpitations,
- frequent bowel movements,
- fine or brittle hair,
- sleep problems,
- thinning skin,
- fatigue, and
- irregular vaginal bleeding or problems with menstruation in women.
Other symptoms may include:
Graves’ disease can also be associated with eye disease and apparent bulging of the eyes.
What Is the Treatment for Hyperthyroidism?
Treatment options for hyperthyroidism may include:
- Surgery to remove the thyroid gland
- Destruction of the thyroid gland with radioactive iodine
- Antithyroid drugs that block the ability of the thyroid gland to produce hormones
- Drugs that do not reduce thyroid hormone levels but manage the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, such as beta blockers to decrease heart rate and shakiness
Thyroid : Test Your Medical IQ QuizQuestion
Where is the thyroid gland located?See Answer
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How Do You Feel When You Have Hyperthyroidism?Hyperthyroidism (also called overactive thyroid) occurs when the thyroid gland in the neck produces too much thyroid hormone and increases the body’s metabolism.
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Thyroid MedicationsThyroid medications treat diseases of the thyroid, including hyperthyroidism (such as Graves' disease), hypothyroidism, thyroid disorders in pregnancy, post-partum thyroid disease, thyroid cancer, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, and thyroid nodules. Thyroid medications replace thyroid hormone levels [L-thyroxine (or LT4), L-triiodothyronine (T3)] or suppress growth of thyroid tissue [propylthiouracil (PTU), methimazole], or control symptoms such as beta-blockers and iodide solutions.
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What Are the Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism in Females?Thyroid disease tends to happen more often in women than in men, and their symptoms can vary. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism in females that differ from males include changes in menstrual periods (lighter flow), less frequent periods, missed menstrual periods, infertility, hot flashes, and mood swings.
What Is the Best Medication for Hyperthyroidism?Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) is a condition in which the body produces excess thyroid hormone, increasing the body’s metabolism. There are several types of hyperthyroid medication, which are prescribed depending on the person's symptoms.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.