Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) occurs when your thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. Hyperthyroidism can accelerate your body’s metabolism, causing unintentional weight loss and a rapid or irregular heartbeat.
It can also cause a wide variety of signs and symptoms, including unintentional weight loss, even when your appetite and food intake stay the same or increase, rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) — commonly more than 100 beats a minute, irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), pounding of your heart (palpitations), increased appetite, nervousness, anxiety, and irritability, tremor — usually a fine trembling in your hands and fingers, sweating, changes in menstrual patterns, increased sensitivity to heat, changes in bowel patterns, especially more frequent bowel movements, an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), which may appear as a swelling at the base of your neck, fatigue, muscle weakness, difficulty sleeping, skin thinning, and fine, brittle hair.
Sometimes an uncommon problem called Graves’ ophthalmopathy may affect your eyes, especially if you smoke. This disorder makes your eyeballs protrude beyond their regular protective orbits when the tissues and muscles behind your eyes swell. Eye problems often improve without treatment.
Signs and symptoms of Graves’ ophthalmopathy include dry eyes, red or swollen eyes, excessive tearing or discomfort in one or both eyes, light sensitivity, blurry or double vision, inflammation, or reduced eye movement, and protruding eyeballs.
Hyperthyroidism can be caused by several conditions, including Graves’ disease, Plummer’s disease, and thyroiditis. Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck, just below your Adam’s apple. The thyroid gland has an enormous impact on your health. Thyroid hormones regulate every aspect of your metabolism.
Your thyroid gland produces two main hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), that influence every cell in your body. They maintain the rate at which your body uses fats and carbohydrates, help control your body temperature, affect your heart rate, and help regulate the production of protein. Your thyroid also produces a hormone that helps regulate the amount of calcium in your blood (calcitonin).
Hyperthyroidism can lead to several complications. Some of the most severe complications of hyperthyroidism involve the heart. These include a rapid heart rate, a heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation that increases your risk of stroke, and congestive heart failure — a condition in which your heart can’t circulate enough blood to meet your body’s needs.
Untreated hyperthyroidism can also lead to weak, brittle bones (osteoporosis). The strength of your bones depends, in part, on the amount of calcium and other minerals they contain. Too much thyroid hormone interferes with your body’s ability to incorporate calcium into your bones.
People with Graves’ ophthalmopathy develop eye problems, including bulging, red or swollen eyes, sensitivity to light, and blurring or double vision. Untreated, severe eye problems can lead to vision loss. Red, swollen skin. In rare cases, people with Graves’ disease develop Graves’ dermopathy. It affects the skin, causing redness and swelling, often on the shins and feet.
Hyperthyroidism also places you at risk of thyrotoxic crisis — a sudden intensification of your symptoms, leading to a fever, a rapid pulse, and even delirium. If this occurs, seek immediate medical care.
Although hyperthyroidism can be serious if you ignore it, most people respond well once hyperthyroidism is diagnosed and treated!
Until Next Time,
Team Doctor ASKY!