- by Medikoe Health Expert
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- Feb 12 2017
What is Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism is a condition of the thyroid gland, a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of your neck. It produces tetraiodothyronine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), two primary hormones that control how the cells use energy. Thyroid gland regulates our metabolism through the release of these hormones. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid makes excess of these hormones.
Hyperthyroidism can be caused due to a number of factors. Graves' disease, an autoimmune disorder, is one of the most common cause of hyperthyroidism, making the antibodies to stimulate the thyroid to produce too much hormones. Graves’ disease tends to run in families and is more common in women.
Some other common reasons for hyperthyroidism include:
- Hyper functioning thyroid nodules: One or more nodules or lumps in the thyroid grow and speed up their function, producing too much hormone.
- Thyroiditis: A condition in which the immune system or an infection causes the thyroid gland to become inflamed and secrete extra thyroid hormone that leaks into the bloodstream.
- Excess iodine.
- Benign tumours.
Some common signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism are:
- Excessive sweating
- Intolerance to heat
- Increased bowel movements
- Tremor, usually fine shaking
- Nervousness, agitation, anxiety
- Rapid or irregular heart rate
- Weight loss
- Nausea, fatigue, weakness
- Irregular menstrual flow
- Fine or brittle hair
- Thinning skin
- Sleep disturbances
The first step towards a diagnosis is a thorough medical history and physical examination that would reveal the common signs and symptoms of thyroid. Other tests that could be conducted are:
- Blood test
- Radio iodine uptake test
- Cholesterol test
- Thyroid scan
Thyroid can either be treated using medications or in some cases, surgery could be required, depending on the type of thyroid. The available treatment options are:
- Medication: Anti-thyroid medications are a common treatment that prevent the thyroid from producing hormones.
- Radioactive iodine: Radioactive iodine is given to adults with hyperthyroidism that effectively destroys the cells that produce hormones.
- Surgery: A section or all of your thyroid gland may be surgically removed. You will then need to take thyroid hormone supplements to prevent hypothyroidism, that occurs when you have an underactive thyroid that secretes too little hormone.
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