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In our previous post, we talked about hypothyroidism and its causes and management tips. Hyperthyroidism, unlike hypothyroidism, is the production of too much thyroid hormones. Our thyroid gland produces 2 primary hormones, tetraiodothyronine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones regulate how your body uses energy and your thyroid regulates your metabolism. With hyperthyroid, there is overproduction of either of the hormones or both.

Common causes of hyperthyroidism include:

Grave’s disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. It is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to stimulate the thyroid gland to produce more than enough thyroid hormones.

It occurs more often in women than men and is usually genetic. Other causes of hyperthyroidism include:

  • Excess iodine, a key ingredient in T4 and T3

  • Thyroiditis, or inflammation of the thyroid, which causes T4 and T3 to leak out of the gland

  • Tumors of the ovaries or testes

  • Benign tumors of the thyroid or pituitary gland

  • Large amounts of tetraiodothyronine taken through diet

Symptoms experienced

  • Increased appetite

  • Nervousness

  • Restlessness

  • Inability to concentrate

  • Weakness

  • Irregular heartbeat

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Fine, brittle hair

  • Itching

  • Hair loss

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Breast development in men

It is important to head to the doctor immediately if u experience:

  • Dizziness

  • Shortness of breath

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Fast, irregular heart rate

Also, be aware of these symptoms if you have a family history of thyroid disorders.

How do doctors test for hyperthyroidism

Physical examination: weight loss, rapid pulse, elevated blood pressure, protruding eyes, enlarged thyroid gland.

Tests: cholesterol, T3 & T4, TSH, ultrasound, MRI

Complications of hyperthyroidism

  • Atrial fibrillation

  • Osteoporosis

  • Eye problems (bulging eyes or blurred vision)

  • delirium

How to treat hyperthyroidism

During your doctor’s visit, based on examinations done, your doctor will discuss the best method for treatment. This usually includes medication, radioactive iodine or surgery. Including certain foods and vitamins are also equally important to help maintain a healthy thyroid.

Speak with your doctor or healthcare team if you experience any of the symptoms. Getting your thyroid function checked is a good way to get early treatment.

Our next post is about foods suitable for hyperthyroidism in Food and your thyroid - Part 2.

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