Patient's Complete Guide to Hyperthyroidism

Overview of Hyperthyroidism

The thyroid is a gland located at the front of your neck. It produces two important hormones as tetraiodothyronine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones maintain your bodily functions such as metabolism, heart rate, respiration, and digestion. Hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid (گلھڑ کا مرض /Galar Ka Marz) occurs due to the overproduction of these hormones.
Although hyperthyroidism can be serious if left untreated, most people respond well once it is diagnosed and treated.

Occurrence of Hyperthyroidism

As per studies, the occurrence of hyperthyroidism is significantly higher in women as compared to men 75.8% vs. 24.2%, respectively. In Pakistan, the locality distribution of the patients showed that people living in Peshawar and Charsadda are most likely to be affected by this condition.

Signs and Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

Some common signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism are

  • Sudden weight loss
  • Rapid heartbeat or tachycardia
  • Sweating
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Palpitations
  • Heat sensitivity
  • Nervousness
  • Mood swings
  • Shaking
  • Irregular periods
  • Altered bowel patterns
  • An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter)
  • Fatigue
  • Skin thinning
  • Difficulty sleeping

Causes of Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism can be occurred due to a number of conditions, including

  • Graves' Disease: Graves' disease is an autoimmune disorder in which your immune system triggers your thyroid to produce excessive thyroxine. It is considered the most common cause of hyperthyroidism.
  • Hyperfunctioning Thyroid Nodules: It is another cause of hyperthyroidism in which thyroid-associated tumours produce excessive thyroxine. The tumour is either part of the gland or separated off from the gland.
  • Thyroiditis: Sometimes, in pregnant women, the thyroid gland is inflamed due to autoimmune response or for another reason. This inflammation can cause a leak of excess thyroid into the bloodstream. In some cases, thyroiditis is painful while others are without pain.

Risk Factors of Hyperthyroidism

Some common risk factors for hyperthyroidism are

  • Family history, particularly in the case of Graves' disease
  • Female
  • Personal medical histories of particular chronic illnesses, such as type 1 diabetes, pernicious anaemia and primary adrenal insufficiency

Health-Related Complications of Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism can lead to a number of complications:

  • Eye Problems: People suffering from Graves' ophthalmopathy develop eye problems. These problems include light sensitivity, bulged, red and swollen eyes, and blurred vision. If left untreated, it can cause vision loss.
  • Heart Problems: Heart issues are among the most serious complications of hyperthyroidism. These include an elevated heart rate, stroke, and congestive heart failure - a condition in which your heart can't fulfil your blood requirements due to poor circulation.
  • Graves' Dermopathy: Sometimes, people with Graves' disease develop Graves' dermopathy. This condition affects the skin, causing redness and swelling on the shins and feet.
  • Brittle Bones: Untreated hyperthyroidism can make your bones weak and brittle (osteoporosis). The strength of your bones depends on the amount of Ca+2 and other minerals. Too much thyroid hormone is produced if it affects the body’s ability to deposit calcium into your bones. 
  • Thyrotoxic Crisis: Hyperthyroidism can also lead to the risk of thyrotoxic crisis. In this condition, you feel severe sudden symptoms such as fever, a rapid pulse and delirium. If this occurs, consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Prevention

Hyperthyroidism is a disease that has no definite prevention. Genetics play a major factor in the development of hyperthyroidism. Moreover, special consideration should be given during the pregnancy period.

Treatment of Hyperthyroidism | When to Consult a Doctor

Hyperthyroidism can be treated by various methods. The best approach depends on

  • Age
  • Physical condition
  • Cause of hyperthyroidism
  • Personal preference
  • The severity of your disorder

1. Home Remedies for Hyperthyroidism

  • Proper Diet: Proper diet with an adequate amount of calcium and sodium is helpful in preventing hyperthyroidism. Ask your doctor to suggest a healthy diet, nutritional supplements, and exercise.

  • Certain Vitamins: Hyperthyroidism can also cause osteoporosis. In this condition, your bones become weak and thin. It can be avoided by taking vitamin D and calcium supplements. Your doctor may tell you about the quantity of vitamin D and calcium to take each day.

2. Treatment in Hospital

Possible treatment approaches are:

  • Radioactive Iodine: Radioactive iodine is prescribed to take orally that is absorbed by your thyroid gland. It causes the thyroid gland to shrink in size. Excessive radioactive iodine disappears from the body in weeks or months.

However, this treatment causes a drop in thyroid activity results in hypothyroidism. In this case, you have to take medicines every day to replace thyroxine.

  • Anti-thyroid Medications: These medicines control your thyroids ability to produce excess amounts of hormones. Eventually, symptoms of hyperthyroidism are reduced. These medicines include methimazole and propylthiouracil. Treatment by anti-thyroid medications often lasts a year or longer. Some people are fully recovered from these medicines. However, some others may experience a relapse. These drugs can cause severe damage to the lungs and sometimes result in death. Because propylthiouracil has caused many severe effects so it is only prescribed if you are unable to tolerate methimazole.

In some rare cases, you may develop skin rashes, fever or other skin allergies. These drugs also increase your susceptibility to infection.

  • Beta-Blockers: Although these drugs are high blood pressure but can provide relief from hyperthyroidism symptoms. Therefore, your doctor may prescribe them to reduce the symptoms until you are recovered. Beta-blockers are generally not recommended for people having asthma because their condition may become severe.

  • Surgery (thyroidectomy): Thyroid surgery is performed in some rare cases such as if you are unable to tolerate anti-thyroid drugs or if you are pregnant. In a thyroidectomy, your doctor may remove your entire thyroid gland. The surgery can damage your vocal cords and parathyroid glands — which control the level of calcium in your blood.

In addition to surgery, you will need levothyroxine to maintain the normal amount of thyroid hormones in your body.

Healthcare Providers

Consult with Best Doctors for Hyperthyroidism

Dr. Uzma Ali, Endocrinologist
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Dr. Uzma Ali

Dr. Hira Baqai, Endocrinologist
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Dr. Hira Baqai

Dr. Muhammad Murtaza Shafqat, Endocrinologist
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Speciality for Hyperthyroidism

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