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Symptoms and Signs of Thyroid Storm

Doctor's Notes on Thyroid Storm

When thyroid hormone levels become extremely elevated, the symptoms of overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) may worsen and can result in a serious condition called thyroid storm or thyrotoxic crisis. A thyroid storm is rare, but is a life-threatening emergency. Causes of thyroid storm include infections, thyroid surgery, stopping medications given for hyperthyroidism, thyroid hormone replacement taken in too high doses, treatment with radioactive iodine, pregnancy, heart attack, or other cardiac emergencies.

Symptoms of thyroid storm include rapid heart beat (palpitations), greatly increased body temperature (may be as high as 105-106 F/40.5-41.1 C), increased sweating, chest pain, shortness of breath, anxiety, irritability, disorientation, weakness, and heart failure. Thyroid storm is a life-threatening medical emergency and a person experiencing symptoms should be taken to a hospital’s emergency department immediately.

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.