Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is a medical condition in which the thyroid gland is overactive and secreting too much of the thyroid hormone known as Thyroxine. The increased Thyroxine in the blood may increase the body’s metabolism significantly, causing weight loss, rapid or irregular heartbeat, sweating, nervousness and irritability.

Grave’s disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. This is a condition whereby the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland. The immunologic insult to the thyroid stimulates an excessive secretion of thyroid hormone. Hyperthyroidism is strongly familial in origin, meaning people with a family history of the disease are at higher risk. Thyroid function tests will show an increase in Thyroxine with low levels of Thyroid Stimulating Hormones (TSH).  The Radioactive Iodine Uptake Test and Thyroid Scan may effectively demonstrate an overactive thyroid.

Treatment Options

Treatment options for hyperthyroidism depend on numerous factors, such as, age, physical condition and severity of disorder. The following treatment options may be available.

Radioactive Iodine – The radioactive iodine may be absorbed in the thyroid gland where it causes the gland to shrink. Signs and symptoms also subside with the shrinking of the gland within 3 to 6 months treatment. Radioactive iodine has been proven to be safe for humans, according to select study results.

Anti-thyroid Medications – These medications reduce the signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism and prevent the gland from secreting more thyroxine in the blood stream. Propylthiouracil and Methimazole are the most common anti-thyroid drugs given to individuals with hyperthyroidism.

Beta Blockers – These medications do not reduce thyroxine production but lower blood pressure and decreases the speed of the heart beat to help the individual feel much better by preventing palpitations.

Thyroidectomy – This is the surgical removal of the thyroid gland to reduce signs and symptoms. Surgery is usually sought after, if all conservative treatment options have failed.

It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition. Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.