Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormone. The thyroid gland, a small butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of the neck, produces thyroid hormones that regulate how the body utilizes energy. Hyperthyroidism speeds up your body’s metabolism, which causes unexpected weight loss and a fast or irregular heartbeat. There are various ways to treat hyperthyroidism, and most people respond well once it is detected and treated.
Hyperthyroidism can be caused by a variety of conditions, including:
The symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:
The risk factors of hyperthyroidism include:
If you have symptoms or signs of hyperthyroidism, your doctor will probably ask you if you have a family history of the condition and order one or more of the following tests:
If hyperthyroidism isn't treated, it can lead to a variety of serious health issues, such as:
Medicines, radioiodine therapy, and thyroid surgery are all options for treating hyperthyroidism. The treatment goals are to stop the production of thyroid hormones and block the hormones’ effect on the body.
The medications for hyperthyroidism include:
Methimazole and Propylthiouracil: Propylthiouracil increases the likelihood of liver damage. Methimazole is the primary choice when doctors prescribe medication. During the first trimester of pregnancy, however, propylthiouracil is favored over methimazole since methimazole has a small chance of producing congenital abnormalities. After the first trimester, pregnant women will usually resume taking methimazole. Anti-thyroid medications can be administered as supplementary to radioiodine therapy before or after it. Rashes, joint discomfort, liver failure, and a decline in white blood cells are all possible side effects of both drugs.
Beta-blockers: These drugs don't prevent thyroid hormones from being produced, but they do block their effect on the body and may. They may relieve irregular heartbeats, anxiety, tremors, irritability, muscle weakness, heat intolerance, sweating, and diarrhea relatively quickly. They include Propranolol, Atenolol, Metoprolol, Nadolol.
Beta-blockers aren't often prescribed for people with asthma because the drugs may trigger an asthma attack. These drugs may also complicate the management of diabetes.
If you have hyperthyroidism, make your mental and physical well-being a priority:
Eating well and exercising can improve some symptoms during treatment and help you feel better in general. For example, because your thyroid controls your metabolism, you may tend to gain weight when hyperthyroidism is corrected. Brittle bones also can occur with hyperthyroidism, and weight-bearing exercises may help to maintain bone density.
Reducing stress may be helpful, as stress may trigger or worsen hyperthyroidism. Partner with your doctor to develop a plan that involves including good nutrition, exercise, and relaxation in your daily routine.
The prognosis for hyperthyroidism is pretty good, considering that various effective treatments for the disease are available and can stop the adverse effects of hyperthyroidism. However, lifelong treatment to maintain a normal level of thyroid hormones is often required to remain healthy.
Our clinical experts continually monitor the health and medical content posted on CURA4U, and we update our blogs and articles when new information becomes available. Last reviewed by Dr.Saad Zia on May 21, 2023.
Hyperthyroidism (Overactive Thyroid) - NIDDK (nih.gov)
Hyperthyroidism - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic