Hyperthyroidism - Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Diet

Hyperthyroidism

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The butterfly-shaped thyroid gland is at the base of your neck, just above the collarbone. The thyroid gland helps regulate body temperature and heart rate, and metabolism. As a result of Hyperthyroidism, the production and the release of thyroxine, a hormone produced by thyroid gland is more. By accelerating your metabolism, an overactive thyroid can cause discomfort and uncomfortable symptoms. 

Disease Name Hyperthyroidism
Alternative Name Overactive Thyroid
Symptoms

Loss of weight, Tachycardia, Arrhythmia, Weakness in muscles, Tiredness, Sleeping difficulties, Goitre, Nervousness, Stress, Restlessness , Tremor, Sweating

Causes

Excess iodine consumption, Thyroid Nodules, Graves’ Disease

Diagnosis

Thyroid Scan, Ultrasound, Test for Radioactive Iodine uptake, Blood Test

Treated By General Medicine
Treatment options

Thyroid Scan, Ultrasound, Test for Radioactive Iodine Uptake, Blood Test

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism can result in a wide range of indications and symptoms, such as:   

  1. Loss of weight
  2. Tachycardia (refers to a rapid heartbeat that exceeds 100 beats per minute).
  3. Arrhythmia ( Irregular heartbeat)
  4. Weakness in muscles
  5. Tiredness
  6. Sleeping difficulties and heightened heat sensitivity.
  7. Goitre is a swelling neck caused by an enlarged thyroid gland. It can sometimes make breathing and swallowing difficult.
  8. Nervousness, stress, and restlessness 
  9. Tremor – a trembling sensation in your hands and fingers. 
  10. Sweating 
  11. Variations in menstrual cycles
  12. Bowel changes, particularly more frequent bowel motions

Causes of Hyperthyroidism

  1. Excess iodine consumption: Consumption of too much iodine via food or medicine results in more Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3) production by the thyroid gland.
  2. Thyroid Nodules: Thyroid nodules are lumps or cell growths in the thyroid gland which results in the production of T4 hormone also known as thyroxine. Thyroid illness may be indicated by high or low T4 levels.
  3. Graves’ Disease: “It is a hereditary autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, producing excess thyroid hormone”.

Risk Factors of Hyperthyroidism

Risk Factors of Hyperthyroidism include:

  1. Age
  2. Pregnancy 
  3. Previous history of thyroid surgery
  4. Familial history of thyroid disease
  5. Pernicious Anaemia
  6. Diabetes Type 1
  7. Females are more affected.

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Prevention of Hyperthyroidism

The following diet is advised for those with Hyperthyroidism:

  1. Iodine intake should be around 150 micrograms per day (mcg). For pregnant women the daily dose is higher.
  2. If a dietitian recommends a low-iodine diet, avoid the following seafood and its additives: Fish, Crab and Sushi.
  3. Iodine is rich in various foods, including Dairy products, Milk, Cheese, Egg Yolk, and Iodised Salt, which must be avoided.

Diagnosis of Hyperthyroidism

The doctor may perform a physical examination, blood tests, and imaging tests to diagnose Hyperthyroidism.

  1. Thyroid scan: A little amount of radioactive iodine is injected into blood circulation by a technician. The thyroid gland absorbs it, and a special camera is used to examine the gland to look for nodules or other indicators of disease.
  2. Ultrasound: A transducer is passed over your neck by a professional. It captures imaging of your thyroid using sound waves.
  3. Test for radioactive iodine uptake: A little amount of radioactive iodine is swallowed. A gamma probe is a device that monitors the amount of iodine accumulated in the thyroid gland.
  4. Blood Test: In this blood test, the level of Thyroid Hormones are measured.

Treatment of Hyperthyroidism

  1. Antithyroid Drugs: These medications usually relieve your symptoms within a few weeks or months, but you'll generally need to take them up to 18 months to avoid a relapse. Methimazole and Propylthiouracil are medications that prevent your thyroid from producing too many hormones.
  2. Beta-blockers: These medications don't treat thyroid hormone levels, but they can reduce symptoms like anxiety, tremors, and a racing heart. 
  3. Radioactive Iodine: A little amount of radioactive iodine is swallowed. It absorbs and eliminates overactive thyroid cells. It causes your thyroid to shrink and your thyroid hormone levels to drop.
  4. Thyroidectomy: This surgery is performed if medications fail to work. The thyroid gland is surgically removed, either completely or a part of it.

Risks and Complications of Hyperthyroidism

Possible side-effects of Radiation include cancer.

  1. Potential liver damage is a rare adverse effect affecting less than 1% of people; another negative impact includes Agranulocytosis, an uncommon (less than 1%) severe drop in white blood cell count caused by Antithyroid drugs.
  2. Surgical procedures carry some dangers, including infection and bleeding.

How to prepare for a doctor consultation? 

  1. Make an appointment before consulting the doctor.
  2. The doctor may ask questions related to the condition like signs and symptoms, medical history, medications, and duration of appearance of symptoms.
  3. A physical examination is performed by the doctor to know about the condition.
  4. You can ask the following questions to the doctor:
  5. Is the condition treatable?
  6. How long do I need to continue the treatment?
  7. Will the condition affect my personal or professional life?
Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational and learning purposes only. It doesn't cover every medical condition and might not be relevant to your personal situation. This information isn't medical advice, isn't meant for diagnosing any condition, and shouldn't replace talking to a certified medical or healthcare professional.

Reviewer

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

MBBS, DNB General Surgery, Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery, FIAGES

12 Years Experience

Dr Aman Priya Khanna is a well-known General Surgeon, Proctologist and Bariatric Surgeon currently associated with HealthFort Clinic, Health First Multispecialty Clinic in Delhi. He has 12 years of experience in General Surgery and worke...View More

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Sangeeta Sharma

Sangeeta Sharma

BSc. Biochemistry I MSc. Biochemistry (Oxford College Bangalore)

6 Years Experience

She has extensive experience in content and regulatory writing with reputed organisations like Sun Pharmaceuticals and Innodata. Skilled in SEO and passionate about creating informative and engaging medical conten...View More

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