Are you sweating more than usual? Feeling nervous and jittery? Are you also losing weight and your heart is beating fast? If you have any or all of these symptoms, you just might have an overactive thyroid. If you or someone you love is dealing with symptoms like these, you need to learn hyperthyroidism causes, visit the doctor and get a blood test for hyperthyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism defined. The thyroid is a gland in your neck. While it may be small and inconspicuous, its role in the body is very important. If the thyroid is malfunctioning and producing too much thyroid hormone (thyroxine), the body develops hyperthyroidism, states the Mayo Clinic. It may sound like a weight loss plan, but thyroxine needs to be at normal levels for your body to be healthy. An overactive thyroid can lead to problems with your heart, bones, eyes and skin and also cause a condition known as thyrotoxic crisis.
Causes of hyperthyroidism. When the thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone, it is important to learn what is causing it for the best treatment. Several conditions can cause a faulty thyroid gland. Some causes include:
- Graves’ disease — The body’s immune system produces antibodies that normally protect the body from viruses, bacteria and other foreign substances. With Graves’ disease, the immune system attacks the body (particularly the thyroid) instead of protecting it. In the case of Graves’ disease, these antibodies cause an increase the release of thyroxine. Doctors are not certain what causes this malfunction of the immune system, but a genetic propensity is suspected.
- Toxic multinodular goiter — Toxic adenoma, Plummer’s disease and toxic multinodular goiter all fall under the hyperfunctioning thyroid nodules category. Part of the thyroid forms benign lumps that can enlarge the gland. While it is not understood why the nodules form, they can cause an excess of thyroxine.
- Thyroiditis — For some unknown reason, the thyroid becomes inflamed and causes excess thyroid hormone to leak into the bloodstream. There are several types of thyroiditis. Some types cause pain, and others are pain free. Thyroiditis can also occur after a pregnancy.