What is Hyperthyroidism?
The thyroid issue which is caused due to abnormality in the function of thyroid gland, and leads to over production of thyroid hormones is commonly known as Hyperthyroidism.
“Hyperthyroidism is defined as the condition of the thyroid gland in which it becomes overactive, and starts producing excess of thyroid hormone.”
This is a condition of thyroid, which relates with the production of the thyroid hormones. As we know that the thyroid glands produce, stores and secrete two types of thyroid hormones, T3 and T4. The condition of Hyperthyroidism reaches when one of these two hormones or both of them are produced in a large quantity.
The diagnosis of an overactive thyroid gland and its treatment can help the patient get relieved from the suffering. There are some symptoms that indicates the earliest diagnosis.
The excess of thyroid hormones in the body leads to high metabolism. This creates a great disturbance in the homeostasis of the human body. Thus, this disturbance is known as the Hypermetabolic state.
It tends the patient to suffer with fast heart rate, high blood pressure, weight loss, etc.
Let’s see what the Hyperthyroidism symptoms are:
- Speedy bowel movement, which is caused due to the fast working of digestive system
- There is an increase in appetite, because of the fast digestion of food
- Due to fast heart-beat, it creates nervousness and restlessness
- Lack of concentration in work is also among the symptoms
- Due to high metabolism, the body faces loss in body energy leading to weakness
- The hyperthyroidism symptoms also include hair loss and thinning
- Itching is also due to overactive thyroid.
These are not that severe, but some of the hyperthyroidism symptoms need a doctor immediately, like:
- Lot of dizziness,
- Shortening of breath,
- Unconscious mind or fits
- Very high heart rate that may risk into heart failure
- The hyperthyroidism symptoms in acute cases, or in cases of thyroid storm can cause brain strokes, or heart failure, or lack of oxygen, etc. which will need immediate treatment.
Hyperthyroidism Symptoms in Men
There are some specific symptoms that men face in case of hyperthyroidism. Men and women are different in physique and structure, which shows differences in the hyperthyroidism symptoms in men and women.
The hyperthyroidism symptoms in men are:
- The increased metabolism leads to loss in the weight of men. These symptoms in men also make them weaker than before.
- The men being more aggressive than women tend to face more of the anxiety and irritation in their behavior. They may become angry and lose temper into violence soon.
- The hyperthyroidism symptoms in men also include high pace heartbeat. The high heartbeat is very risky for men’s health.
- Men can also experience swelling in the neck, due to enlarged goiter as the hyperthyroidism symptoms in men.
- In the hyperthyroidism symptoms in men, also comes digestive issues. Due to high metabolism the bowel movements speeds up, causing frequent digestion and diarrhea as well.
- This leads to worse skin conditions like, dryness, pale skin, acne, etc.
- Some other hyperthyroidism symptoms in men are puffiness in the eyes, high amount of sweating, more stress, etc. in severe conditions the signs can be high blood pressure, strokes, vision issues, and bone weakness. This may lead to Osteoporosis and bone fracture also in very acute situation.
Hyperthyroidism Symptoms in Women
There are certain hyperthyroidism symptoms in women, which require a special consideration. As I already told here that some specific symptoms are different in men and women.
These hyperthyroidism symptoms in women are:
- Loss in weight, the symptom that is most common in women with hyperthyroid problem.
- Frequent bowel movement that can tend to diarrhea and upset stomach
- Irregular menses are also the hyperthyroidism symptoms in women. Thyroid hormones influence the proper menstruation cycle, an overactive thyroid gland results in an irregular or continuous bleeding.
- Eyes bulge out and appear larger in this case.
- The hyperthyroidism symptoms in women also include the infertility in women. The over production of thyroid hormones creates disturbance in the ovarian function, which can cause ovarian cyst, and also infertility in women.
- Fear and nervousness are also the hyperthyroidism symptoms in women. The high metabolic rate in the body of women, leads to increase in fear or nervousness.
- The enlargement of thyroid gland causes swelling in the neck.
- It leads to sleeplessness or insomnia, and restlessness in women.
- During pregnancy, the hyperthyroidism symptoms in women become worse. It may be high mood fluctuations, high blood pressure, fast heartbeat and swelling in the body.
At the gestation period, hyperthyroidism symptoms in women can also affect the fetus in the womb of the mother. So, women should take special care in such cases.
Let’s see what the hyperthyroidism causes are?
There are a number of factors that cause the overactive thyroid gland.
- The most common factor causing it is Graves’ disease. This causes antibodies to secrete excess of thyroid hormones, tending to cause overactive thyroid gland.
- Gender is also a factor, which can cause more of it in females than in males.
- The increasing age may also cause this, especially in women.
- Excess intake of iodine in your diet or as supplements causes overactive thyroid gland.
- A surgery of thyroid or a thyroid-hormone replacement therapy also the cause.
- A benign tumor or a nodule in the thyroid gland is also a reason of hyperthyroidism causes.
- Thyroiditis or inflammation in the thyroid gland cells leads to abnormal or high production of thyroid hormone. This is one of the hyperthyroidism causes.
There are certain methods for hyperthyroidism diagnosis.
As soon as you observe the hyperthyroidism symptoms, go to your doctor for the hyperthyroidism diagnosis. There are many methods that can help in hyperthyroidism diagnosis.
The first method is the physical exam, The doctors check if there is some swelling or outgrowth in the neck of the patient. That indicates the goiter due to hyperthyroidism.
Also bulging eyes and high blood pressure indicates hyperthyroidism.
Cholesterol test: this also helps in confirming overactive thyroid gland. A low cholesterol level indicates, high metabolism due to hyperthyroidism.
High T3 and T4 levels: the blood test to confirm thyroid hormone level is also helpful in hyperthyroidism diagnosis. In case of overactive thyroid glands, the thyroid hormone level is very high.
TSH level: when the T3 and T4 level in blood is high due to hyperthyroidism, the TSH becomes low. So, this test for low TSH level indicates hyperthyroidism.
Ultrasound: Undergoing ultrasound as the hyperthyroidism diagnosis helps in checking the enlargement of the gland and presence of nodules, lumps or tumors if there is a case of thyroid cancer or thyroid adenoma.
CT Scans or MRI Scans: This hyperthyroidism diagnosis method helps in confirming if there is a tumor or presence of cancer in the thyroid or pituitary glands.
Along with the hyperthyroidism diagnosis, treatment and all, it is a necessity to understand what to eat and what not in case of hyperthyroidism. What should be the hyperthyroidism diet?
Certain most important things to keep in mind when you suffer from hyperthyroidism are the special hyperthyroidism diet. What you should eat and what not?
- You must avoid the food containing high iodine, such as sea food, eggs, milk, yoghurt, iodised salts, etc.
- The cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, broccoli, cabbage, turnip, cauliflower, etc., should be taken in raw form. Especially in the juice or salad form.
- The green leafy vegetables, spinach etc., also help suppressing the functioning of the thyroid gland.
- Flax seed oil, fish oil, mushrooms, eggs, is the great source of Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin D.
- The food having soya products in it helps controlling overactive thyroid gland.
- Do not take coffee, alcohol, or cigarettes.
- Take high potency Vitamin B supplements to overcome the high metabolism in the body due to hyperthyroidism.
What are the various ways of Hyperthyroidism Treatment?
For the hyperthyroidism treatment, anti-thyroid medicines are used to treat it. The medicine such as Methimazole, are used to control the over production of thyroid hormones.
The Radioactive Iodine Therapy
This treatment is the most reliable one. It kills the excess of thyroid hormone producing cells through the radioactive rays.
The surgery is used as a hyperthyroidism treatment when there is an enlargement in the thyroid gland. At times, it becomes so severe that there appears a usual enlargement of the gland, or goiter. This tends difficulty in breathing and swallowing food.
So, surgery or thyroidectomy is applied to remove the gland. Following this, the patient is permanently prescribed to the thyroid hormone replacement therapy, so that there is no deficiency of thyroid hormones in the patient’s body.
Let’s have a look on the hyperthyroidism medication.
The best anti-thyroid medicines considered are Propylthiouracil and Methimazole. Their function is to eliminate the excess production of thyroid hormone in the glands. PTU has lower effect on the pregnant mother and the baby, in comparison to the Methimazole.
PTU is to be taken as 50 milligrams units per day, but only under doctor’s supervision only.
On the other hand, the physicians advise to take twice or thrice Methimazole, on daily basis. These are available in 5 to 10 milligrams in the form of pills. There are many side effects of these high dose hyperthyroid medication, let me tell you what they are.
The Side effects of Hyperthyroidism Medication
The medicines are rashes, itching, fever, and skin and hair damage. There are many others after effects that are rare to occur, like nausea, muscle pain, headache, and joint pain. The advice from the doctor is a must in the hyperthyroidism medication.
Clinical Features of Hyperthyroidism
The clinical features of hyperthyroidism describe that the low thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level has no issues indicating thyroid storm. But, there are some situations which may cause it, like brain or heart stroke, bone fracture or atrial fibrillation. The low TSH and contrary to this the high T3 and T4 increases the risk of thyroid storm.
Exposure to high energy rays may increase the risk of thyroid adenoma that can become cancerous further. Exposure to external radiations may lead to autoimmune disorder in people.
If there has been some family history then it should properly be studied, in relevance with:
- The thyroid disease,
- Autoimmune disorder, and
- Emigration from different iodine deficient parts of the world.
Differences between Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism
There are many differences between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. First is directly, that the low production of thyroid hormone, from the gland, is known to be Hypothyroidism. While, the over production of thyroid hormone from the gland, is known to be Hyperthyroidism.
Secondly, where hypothyroidism slows the metabolic activities of the body, the hyperthyroidism increases the pace of the body metabolism. The symptoms are exactly opposite to each other in these cases, the below image explains it all.
The symptoms of hypothyroidism are weight gain, tiredness and low blood pressure and heart rate. But, the overactive thyroid shows the symptoms of weight loss, high metabolism, high blood pressure, fast heartbeat, anxiety and restlessness. These symptoms are completely opposite to each other.
The most important thing to notice is; in case of hypothyroidism the person feels extremely low in energy. But in case overactive thyroid, the person feels high energy and full of activity.
The treatment of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are contrary to each other. The hypothyroidism tends to increase the thyroid hormone level through replacement therapy, and hyperthyroidism involves use of radiotherapy to kill the extra hormone producing cells.
These are the most commonly counted differences between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism in Children
The thyroid hormone not just affects the growth and development in men and women, but also plays a very important role in the growth and development of children. Similarly the overactive thyroid gland also affects the children badly. There are many visible symptoms and adverse effects of hyperthyroidism in children.
- The brain development of children, even it causes mental disorders and tremors in children.
- This has impact on their breathing system
- It affects the heart and nervous system of children from proper functioning
- This makes their skin dull and dry, like an older person
- They lose the proper body growth, still eating on so much of food all the time. This is because the children get increased appetite. Though they eat a lot, but still lose weight and don’t attain a proper physical growth.
- Hyperthyroidism in children weakens their bone strength and development.
- In little girls it creates problem at the time of puberty.
Hyperthyroidism in Baby
This very rare, but still passes on genetically. The infants suffering from hyperthyroidism face difficulty in breathing, they have swollen neck, and do not gain weight easily, or lose frequently when they gain it.
If is not treated it may cause heart problems in children in the long run and also creates a weak bone foundation. Hyperthyroidism in children also leads to improper development of the nervous system.
What all can be the causes of hyperthyroidism in children?
- The cause can first be genetic, i.e., if there is any family history of this or Graves’ disease, it may lead to the causal.
- Thyroiditis or thyroid nodules formation may also lead to overactive thyroid glands in the children.
- In case of the new-born, this can be a reason due to the thyroid stimulating antibodies would have passed into the fetus blood through the placenta of the mother.
The hyperthyroidism in children and specially the infants is not permanent mostly. It can be easily treated through Anti-thyroid medication or in severe cases the surgery, i.e., thyroidectomy.
Complications of Hyperthyroidism
There are certain complications related to all the thyroid problems do. Due to the increased rate in heart functioning, respiration, digestion and metabolism; there can be certain complications following it for the long-term.
- Abnormal heartbeat, i.e., Arrhythmia or Atrial Fibrillation
- Cardiac abnormalities, like increase in the size of heart valves and cavities, and weakening of heart muscles.
- It can also follow heart failure or a sudden cardiac arrest.
- Weak bones, or osteoporosis, which is due to fast metabolism of calcium and magnesium in the body. It leaves nothing for the bones of the body, causing its brittleness.
- Hypertension: this is something that can be your life time friend if it doesn’t get a proper treatment for a prolonged period. You feel nervous, tensed, irritated and lose temper easily.
It has got lot many complications if it gets no treatment for a long time.
Pathophysiology of Hyperthyroidism
What is the pathophysiology of hyperthyroidism?
The pathophysiology of hyperthyroidism includes the complete study of the process and steps due to which it started. The beginning takes place from the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands in the body.
A defect in the hypothalamus or pituitary glands can lead to overactive thyroid gland. This may also be due to tumor or nodules in the gland that leads to over functioning of the thyroid gland.
The excess of T3 and T4 leads to low production of TSH, which helps in controlling the hormone production. But in this case, TSI works in spite of TSH, i.e., thyroid stimulating immunoglobulins act rapidly on more and more production of T3 and T4.
On the other hand, the TSH remains low. The excess activity may also cause goiter. Excess of hormone if untreated may cause thyroid storm. This may tend the body to function abnormally faster, than before.
Very high blood pressure, brain stroke, heart failure may also take place. This hyper metabolic rate tends to increase heartbeat, breathing, bowel movements, etc.
Thyroid hormones stimulate proliferation of catecholamines, which cause sympathometic effect. The increase in hormones can heighten this effect, causing “Thyroid Storm”, which is the severe most case of overactive glands. This leads to emergency situations like, cardiac arrest, strokes or bone fracture, or osteoporosis, etc.
Natural Cure for Hyperthyroidism
There are many options to cure overactive thyroid gland naturally. The herbs and tips that can be helpful are:
Bugleweed : if it’s taken 2 ml daily, then it can cure thyroid damage naturally.
The L-carnitine: consume it daily, 1000mg, and twice a day. This helps in reducing the hyperthyroid symptoms.
The Lemon balm: this inhibits the antibodies from binding to the thyroid gland.
Vitamin B complex: helps in alleviating its effects and symptoms. One should take it 50 mg twice a day.
Hyperthyroidism and Weight Loss
The high metabolism of the patients at this time, leads to increase in the BMR. The overactive thyroid glands keep the thyroid hormones in excess amount. This also leads to more and more consumption of energy and fuel of the body.
Thus, the calories keep on burning without a reason, losing their body weight. The more is the respiration and consumption of energy, the more body needs fuel. Thus, tends to increased appetite in the patients.
The weight loss can be controlled through the medication. High intake of calorie also helps in increasing the weight of the patient.
Hyperthyroidism in Pregnancy
During pregnancy, women mostly face Hyperthyroidism or the Graves’ disease. Surveys report there are almost 80-90% cases of hyperthyroidism in pregnancy. This causes nausea, anxiety, morning sickness and over eating or craving to eat something. The diagnosis is based on the physical exams and family history generally.
The most adverse effect of overactive thyroid is premature birth of the baby. This can retard child’s growth and immunity.
This is because CT scans or X-rays is not good for baby’s health.
If the disease is detected, then in mild conditions PTU, Propylthiouracil is given to the patient. It is best for the first trimester of pregnancy. But if the condition is severe, the dose is increased.
Any kind of surgery or radioactive therapy is harmful to the mother’s and baby’s health. So, these are avoided and if required the surgery is followed in the mother, after a few months of baby’s birth. The medications are efficient to balance T3 and T4 levels in the mother’s body.
Home remedies for Hyperthyroidism
Home remedies are the best thing to cure a disease. Despite of using synthetic drugs or surgeries, what if the easy home remedies are applied in the very beginning of the disease only?
“Prevention is always better than cure.”
There are many home remedies:
Some most important herbs
There are herbs that naturally eliminate its effects. They are bugleweed, motherwort, lemon balm, hawthorn, etc, these help in increasing the anti-thyroid effects in the thyroid glands. They also help in proper working of heart and brain, thus relieving from the symptoms, such as, headache, fast heartbeat, cardiac arrest etc.
Oats are of great help
Oats help overcoming the weakness of the body caused due to overactive glands. This also helps in good functioning of metabolism and sympathetic nervous system.
Say No to the Diet Triggers
There are certain elements that may trigger the overactive thyroid problem. Such as alcohol, coffee, soya items, corns, some cooked cruciferous vegetables, etc. may cause you harm. But if you eat them raw, they will help controlling these effects.
Consumption of Calcium and Vitamin D
It has a great impact on the bone density and health. Thus, through regular intake of calcium and vitamin D through supplements and your diet can help in maintaining the bone health. You may get calcium in dairy products the most, and vitamin D is best in the early morning sun bath.
Magnesium rich diet
Same as calcium, magnesium is also exhausted from the body in overactive thyroid gland. To compensate it have more and more green leafy vegetables, and fresh seasonal fruits.
Drop Down the Sugar and oily foods
Already these foods are harmful, but the most adversely affecting in case of hyperthyroidism. This is because they imbalance the functions of adrenal glands, thus affecting the thyroid glands in turn. Thus, this leads to aggravation of over production T3 and T4.
Have a Sound Sleep
A sound sleep keeps the adrenals healthy, thus, helping the thyroid glands staying healthy in turn.
The lesser the stress to the person, the lesser will he face the thyroid issues. This applies for all types of thyroid problems.
Exercise daily, it may help
A regular exercise will help in the healthy working of your butterfly glands.
Meditation helps to calm your mind and body. So, it can prove very helpful in case of hyperthyroidism, in maintaining the peace and normal metabolism in the body of the patient.
We all know that the exercise and yoga is efficient enough to cure-all kind of ailments. Same is in this case.
Hyperthyroidism in Cats: Feline Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism doesn’t just affect the humans, but also to animals. It is found in abundance in cats. In cats, this is a condition when the excess of thyroid hormone is produced in the glands of the cat. It is also termed as Feline Hyperthyroidism.
It is the most common thyroid issues in the cats. There is an excess of T3 and T4 hormones in the blood of cats, which causes certain symptoms to appear.
- There is a weight loss in cats,
- Increased urination
- Hyperactivity in cats
- High appetite in cats.
The treatment in cats is a special medication that contains anti-thyroid chemicals. In severe conditions surgery can be performed to remove the thyroid glands. Also radiotherapy can be helpful in such cases.
Does hyperthyroidism causes weight loss?
Yes it causes weight loss. This is because the thyroid glands become highly active in this situation. Thus, overactive thyroid glands produce, store and secrete an excess amount of T3 and T4.
This leads to hyper metabolism in the person, which leads to fast combustion of energy, requiring more and more fuels for the body to work properly. The appetite gets high, but it also leads to drastic weight loss in the person.
The high metabolism decreases the weight of the person, increases its heart rate, sweating, and anxiety in the person.
How common is Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism is caused more than 80% of the thyroid issues. This is more common in women than in men. This also tends to thyroiditis or thyroid storm, which is still rare. But the overactive thyroid glands, needs a good treatment, else it may aggravate.
Long-term effects of Hyperthyroidism
There are some serious long-term effects complications of the overactive thyroid glands.
- Atrial fibrillation, i.e., abnormal heartbeat. Also known as Arrhythmia
- Increase in the size of heart cavities, tending to heart dilation. Weakens the heart muscles as well.
- The high metabolism and heart rate may cause sudden heart failure or cardiac arrest.
- It also creates a permanent hypertension in the patient.
Is Hyperthyroidism dangerous?
Hyperthyroidism is the disease that has an easy treatment. If looked upon initially then it won’t make us suffer afterwards. Then you may lead a healthy life.
But if you tend to ignore it, this may become severe into Thyroid Storm. Now, this can prove fatal. Because this can cause heart failure, strokes, bone fracture, very high blood pressure etc. which can be very deadly and dangerous.
So, never ignore it. Take care of yours and your family.
Stay hale and hearty always.