Hyperthyroidism: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment!

Hyperthyroidism is the condition of the overactivity of the thyroid gland that leads to excessive production of the thyroid hormone.

 

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF HYPERTHYROIDISM

  • Anxiety & nervousness
  • Irritability & trouble falling asleep
  • Panic attacks
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Memory problems
  • Heat intolerance
  • Hair loss
  • Weight loss
  • High blood sugar
  • Frequent urination
  • Muscle aches & fatigue
  • Fast heart rate
  • Palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive thirst 

COMPLICATIONS

  • Delirium
  • Psychosis & paranoia
  • Tremor & convulsions
  • Absence of menstruation
  • Enlargement of the male breast tissue
  • Osteoporosis
  • Abnormal involuntary movement
  • Loss of muscle function
  • In rare conditions, periodic muscle paralysis & low potassium.
  • Graves’ Disease
  • Enlarged neck, Goiter
  • Bulging of the eye & swelling
  • Muscle weakness of the eye
  • Dalrymple sign
  • Lagging of the upper eyelid on rotation of the eye downward, Von Graefe’s Sign
  • Thyroid storm, a medical emergency that arises due to infections or untreated Hypertension, therefore it presents conditions like abnormal heart beat, several mental agitation, diarrhea.
  • Hypothyroidism due to medications & treatment of Hyperthyroidism/Graves’ Disease. 

CAUSES & RISK FACTORS OF HYPERTHYROIDISM

  • Graves’ Disease
  • Toxic thyroid adenoma/tumor
  • Toxic multinodular goiter
  • Myathenia Gravis
  • Pituitary adenoma/tumor that can cause overproduction of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) which eventually leads to hyperthyroidism.
  • Thyroiditis, inflammation of the thyroid
  • Postpartum thyroiditis (PPT) occurs in about 7% of women during the year after they give birth, although this form of hyperthyroidism usually corrects itself within weeks or months without the need for treatment.
  • Stroma ovarii, a rare form of tumor of the thyroid tissue.
  • Excess consumption of iodine.
  • Amiodarone, a drug used to treat abnormal heart rhythm, is structurally similar to Thyroxine can cause hyperthyroidism.
  • Taking too much of thyroid hormone meication/supplement, eg: levothyroxine. 

DIAGNOSIS

  1. Measuring of the TSH levels in the blood, a high level of TSH shows higher activity of pituitary gland & hence more stimulation of thyroid gland.
  2. Measurement of anti-TSH receptor antibodies in Graves’ Disease & anti-thyroid Peroxidase.
  3. Radioactive iodine test: Radioactive iodine is usually administered IV or orally. A person with hyperthyroidism tends to absorb higher amount of iodine. The amount of iodine absorbed is detected.
  4. Similarly a scan of the thyroid gland is also performed by using a gamma probe camera that captures images of the thyroid hormone, with the help of the radio-contrast media that highlights the abnormality in the thyroid tissue.
  5. Thyroid scintigraphy is also a useful test for distinguishing between different causes of hyperthyroidism.

TREATMENT & MANAGEMENT FOR HYPERTHYROIDISM

  • Antithyroid drugs, that inhibit the production of thyroid hormones. Eg: Methimazole, carbimazole, propylthiouracil.
  • Use of radioactive iodine-131 which is given as a one time dose to completely stop & destroy the activity of the thyroid gland.
  • Subsequently daily dose of levothyroxine is prescribed for the necessary requirement of thyroid hormone.
  • Beta Blockers are prescribed for the management of conditions of heart like palpitations, high blood pressure, etc.
  • Surgery to remove the thyroid hormone in cases where medications do not show effect, although surgery comes at its own risks.
  • Change in diet, foods should not have high iodine.
  • Management of underlying autoimmune disorders.