Sometimes, a thorough check-up is all it takes to find out & resolve the reason behind the abnormal changes in your body. One of the most crucial glands, that balances & regulates the metabolism of your body is your thyroid gland. Located in front of the neck, the thyroid gland produces hormones that steady the mechanism of the body and any abnormalities in its secretion may lead to a serious breakdown of the body’s functioning. Hyperthyroidism is the hormonal condition of an overactive thyroid, which occurs when there is excess hormone production of the body. When the secretion of hormones exceeds the desirable levels, it causes various implications such as hyperactivity, sudden weight loss or the swelling of the thyroid gland, also known as goiter.
What is the root cause of hyperthyroidism?
The thyroid secretes hormones, namely thyroxin & triiodothyronine that are designed to control the body’s growth & metabolism. In the case of hyperthyroidism, the thyroid glands starts producing excessive hormones that speed up the normal rate of metabolism. Although hyperthyroidism can be triggered by a number of reasons, here are a few listed below:
- Grave’s Disease
- Additional intake of iodine supplements
- Excessive intake of amiodarone (medication used to control irregular heartbeat)
- Nodules or lumps in the thyroid gland
- Thyroid Cancer
Symptoms: How to detect Hyperthyroidism
There can be a number of underlying symptoms of hyperthyroidism, a few of which may go unnoticed. However, here are a few signs that might put you on alert.
- Fluctuating mood, frequent mood swings
- Oversensitivity to heat
- Irritability, unexplained nervousness
- Insomnia, difficulty in concentration
- Feeling of lethargy & tiredness
- Unexplained weight loss
- Irregularities in the menstrual cycle
- Consistently warm & moist skin
Diagnosis of Hyperthyroidism: Checking on it early
A diagnosis of hyperthyroidism is based on the patient’s blood sample, where the level of the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone will be tested. In the case of an overactive thyroid, the levels of thyroxine & triiodothyronine will be higher than normal.
In order to determine the cause of an overactive thyroid, the patient may be further referred to additional tests.
There are several kinds of treatments that patients of hyperthyroidism can undergo. The most common of these treatments are:
- Radioiodine treatment, which reduces hormone secretion by shrinking the size of the thyroid gland
- Surgery (that removes the entire or part of the thyroid gland)
- Beta-blockers, that give relief from hyperactivity & tremors in the body
- Thionamides, that prevent the thyroid gland from producing excessive hormones
Can hyperthyroidism cause serious complications?
When left undiagnosed or untreated, hyperthyroidism may manifest itself in various forms, sometimes even affecting the eyes. This occurs with those who have Grave’s disease, and the eyes become dry, gritty & oversensitive to light.
Other complications can occur in women during pregnancy or childbirth, sometimes even resulting in a miscarriage.
Another major repercussion of an undiagnosed hyperthyroidism is ‘thyroid storm’ which often occurs when the metabolism rate shoots up. A thyroid storm may often show up in the form of high fever, hallucinations, severe dehydration or jaundice.
An early intervention and maintaining a proper medication & lifestyle can help one keep hyperthyroidism in check. A person affected by an overactive thyroid gland can lead a perfectly healthy normal life if he/she takes care of the measures & abides by them.