An overactive thyroid is referred to as hyperthyroidism. This condition occurs when your thyroid gland produces an excess amount of a hormone call thyroxine. The over production of this hormone can cause many hyperthyroidism symptoms. Becoming aware and familiar with the symptoms of hyperthyroidism is a helpful way to confirm whether or not you are at risk. The symptoms of hyperthyroidism can be similar to that of other illnesses, so confirming the condition is made more difficult.
- Rapid weight loss. Even if your appetite remains unchanged and you continue to have a normal eating pattern- weight loss continues.
- Appetite increase
- Anxiety, irritability, anxiety attacks, nervousness
- Increases Sweating
- Insomnia (difficulty falling asleep)
- Heightened heartbeat (tachycardia)
- Heightened sensitivity to heat and warm weather
- Bowel movements become more frequent
- Menstrual patterns change
- Weakness of muscles, fatigue
- Thyroid gland enlarges
Older adults are more likely to show light or no symptoms. Hyperthyroidism can cause many health problems if left untreated and undiagnosed. These include:
- Weak bones – Osteoporosis (weak bones) can be a result of hyperthyroidism. The production of too much thyroid hormone can cause complications incorporating calcium into your bones, which strengthens them.
- Heart Problems – There are many hyperthyroidism symptoms that can cause serious complications of the heart such as atrial fibrillation (a heart rhythm disorder).
- Skin Irritation Skin can become red and swollen, caused by Graves disease. This is a rare occurrence and happens in few cases.
- Eye Problems – This can include: bulging of the eyes, light sensitivity, red and swollen eyes, and blurry vision.
- Thyrotoxic crisis – This causes intensified symptoms. If this occurs- you should consult a physician.
Treatments for Hyperthyroidism Symptoms
Depending on your age and the severity of your disorder, there are many different medications that are used to treat hyperthyroidism. These include:
1. Anti-thyroid medication– used to slowly reduce the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. This is done by preventing the thyroid gland from overproduction of hormones. Within six to twelve weeks, you should begin to see a reduction in symptoms.
2. Radioactive Iodine – Oral medication that is absorbed by your thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is forced to shrink, making the signs and symptoms reduce or go away all together. This medication normally begins working within three to six months. The thyroid is forced to slow it’s activity- so eventually you may need to take medications to replace the lack of production of the hormone thyroxine.
3. Thyroidectomy– This form of surgery is performed when an individual cannot withstand the anti-thyroid drugs and has voted against radioactive iodine therapy. This is not a frequently used option and is only available for select individuals that qualify.
4. Beta Blockers – usually used to reduce the symptoms and maintain high blood pressure. Your thyroid levels will not be reduce, but these medications can be used to reduce the speed of your heart rate (if you suffer from heightened heart rate) to help prevent palpitations.
Your thyroid is one of the main contributors to your metabolism. When you have hyperthyroidism, your metabolism is increased due to the over production of thyroxin. Hyperthyroidism symptoms will vary.