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
Inability to concentrate
Fine, brittle hair
Nausea and vomiting
Breast development in men
It is important to head to the doctor immediately if u experience:
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
Eye problems (bulging eyes or blurred vision)
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.