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What is Hyperthyroidism? Symptoms, Causes and The Treatments

Overview

Hyperthyroidism, also known as overactive thyroid, occurs when the thyroid gland produces more thyroid hormones (tetraiodothyronine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3)) than what the body requires. The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of your neck. Thyroid hormones regulate how the body uses energy, thus they affect practically every organ in your body, including the rate at which your heart beats.

Hyperthyroidism, if left untreated, can cause major problems with the heart, bones, muscles, menstrual cycle, and fertility. An untreated hyperthyroidism during pregnancy can cause complications to both the mother and the baby.

What Are Hyperthyroidism Symptoms?

Hyperthyroid symptoms may vary between one individual to another and may include:

Depressed woman awake in the night, she is touching her forehead and suffering from insomnia
  • Irritability or anxiousness
  • Muscle weakness or fatigue
  • Heat tolerance difficulty
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Timid hands
  • Quick and irregular heartbeat
  • Frequent bowel or diarrhea movements
  • Loss of weight
  • Mood swings
  • Goiter

Sometimes depression or dementia is misinterpreted for hyperthyroidism in persons over the age of 60. Elderly folks may have symptoms different from younger people with hyperthyroidism, such as loss of appetite or withdrawal.

What Causes Hyperthyroidism?

Graves’ Disease

Graves's disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Graves' disease is a disorder of autoimmunity. Your immune system attacks and causes your thyroid to produce too much thyroid hormone.

Overactive Thyroid Nodules

Thyroid nodules are frequent and usually mild, which means they are not cancerous. One or more nodules may however become hyperactive and produce excessive thyroid hormone. Many hyperactive nodules are more frequently present in elderly people.

Thyroiditis

Thyroiditis is your thyroid inflammation that leaks the stored hormone out of your thyroid gland. It can take up to three months for hyperthyroidism, after which your thyroid may be underactive, to turn into hypothyroidism. Typically 12 to 18 months of hypothyroidism, but sometimes it can be permanent.

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Excessive Iodine

Iodine is used by your thyroid to produce thyroid hormones. The quantity of iodine you take influences the amount of thyroid hormone produced by your thyroid. Large quantities of iodine may cause the thyroid to produce an excess of thyroid hormone in some individuals.

Too Much Of Thyroid Hormone Medication

Some people who use thyroid hormone medication to treat hypothyroidism may overdo it. If you use thyroid hormone medication, you should see your doctor at least once a year to have your thyroid hormone levels evaluated. If your thyroid hormone level is too high, you may need to modify your dose.

Hyperthyroidism In Pregnancy

Thyroid hormone levels that are slightly elevated are usually not a problem during pregnancy. However, untreated severe hyperthyroidism can harm both the mother and the fetus. If you have hyperthyroidism, make sure it's under control before you get pregnant.

Hyperthyroidism Diet You Should Follow

Low-Iodine Food: Thyroid hormones are mostly made by mineral iodine. The thyroid hormone reduction is aided by the low iodine diet. Add these things to your diet every day:

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Vegetables : Vegetables, especially the cruciferous ones, can prevent your thyroid from adequately utilizing iodine. They may be effective in the treatment of hyperthyroidism:

Vitamins & Minerals: For the health of the thyroid and for balancing thyroid hormone production, various nutrients are important.

Iron: For several vital body functions including thyroid functioning, iron is important. This mineral is necessary to bring oxygen to all cells in your body. Low iron concentrations are associated with hyperthyroidism. Make sure you consume enough iron in your diet.

Selenium: Selenium-rich meals can balance thyroid hormone levels and prevent disease in your thyroid. Selenium helps protect your cell and other tissues against damage.

Zinc: Zinc helps to maintain a healthy immune system and thyroid.

Vitamin D and Calcium: Weak and brittle bones induce hyperthyroidism. Treatment can restore bone mass. In order to build strong bones, vitamin D and calcium are necessary.

Food You Should Avoid: Consuming a nutritious diet is among the methods to manage hyperthyroidism. Your doctor would advise a low-iodine diet before commencing treatment if you have hyperthyroidism. This enhances treatment efficiency.

You should avoid a low-iodine diet:

  • High grain products (such as bread, pasta, and pastries)
  • Egg yolk
  • Iodized products 
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Furthermore, tofu, soy milk, soy sauce, and soybeans should also be avoided.

Hyperthyroidism Treatment

Carbimazole is an antithyroid drug, which decreases inorganic iodine consumption and thyroid concentration, and also reduces di-iodotyrosine and thyroxine production. When converted to their active form of methimazole, it avoids combination and iodination of tyrosine residues with thyroglobulin by the thyroid peroxidase enzyme, thus decreasing the synthesis of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4.

Beta-blockers do not stop the production of thyroid hormones but may decrease symptoms until receiving further therapy. Beta-blockers function rapidly to treat many of the symptoms such as trembling, quick heartbeat, and nervousness from hyperthyroidism. Most patients feel better in the hours after beta-blocker is taken.

Takeaway:

In general, hyperthyroidism requires medical therapy and monitoring from healthcare professional. While these natural therapies can help you manage your symptoms, they cannot be substituted for thyroid medication. Good food, exercise, self-care, and stress management are all crucial in combating hyperthyroidism. Thyroid function can return to normal when controlled with medicine and a healthy lifestyle.