Hyperthyroidism Basics

Endocrine Disorders, Featured Article, Thyroid Problems
on January 26, 2012

If you or someone you care about might have hyperthyroidism, you’ll want to know all you can about the disorder. Hyperthyroidism is a relatively common condition, and it can be treated. Get the hyperthyroid basics and learn all you need to know about the overactive thyroid gland.

Signs of hyperthyroidism. If an overactive thyroid is suspected, watch for these common symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Shakiness or tremor
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Palpitations
  • Goiter
  • Moist skin
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Increased perspiration
  • Large appetite
  • Swollen, bulging, red eyes
  • Thickening of the skin in patches
  • Changes to the menstrual period

Unchecked hyperthyroidism. Left untreated, hyperthyroidism can get worse. Symptoms are also more serious with advanced hyperthyroidism such as:

  • Fever
  • Unusually rapid pulse
  • Severe agitation
  • Disorientation

Causes of hyperthyroidism. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that the most common hyperthyroidism is known as Graves' disease. An antibody is suspected of mistakenly stimulating the thyroid gland to over produce the hormone. More rarely, a tumor or growth in the thyroid nodules causes the thyroid to produce too much thyroid hormone.

Treatment options for hyperthyroidism. There are effective ways of treating the overactive thyroid gland. See your doctor in order to develop an appropriate treatment plan. Some options include:

  • A single dose of liquid radioactive iodine is used to ease the thyroid gland and help it stabilize the production of thyroid hormone. This may lead to hypothyroidism that can be treated with daily medication.
  • Thyroid depressive medication. Your doctor may prescribe a medication to slow down the action of the thyroid gland.
  • Beta blockers are prescribed when necessary to slow fast or irregular heartbeats.
  • Surgical removal of all or part of the thyroid gland is done if other treatments have failed.

Alternative therapies. Many people feel comfortable with using a complementary approach to medical care. If your doctor agrees, you may wish to try eliminating suspected food allergens; consuming foods high in vitamin B, including antioxidant-containing fruits and vegetables in your diet; use healthy oils such as olive oil; eliminate caffeine; eliminate smoking and get plenty of exercise.