What is Hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid produces too much of the hormones that it produces. The thyroid is a gland in the neck that is part of the endocrine system and which is responsible for producing hormones that help regulate metabolism, body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure as well as affect other parts of the body, including the hair, nails, and skin.

The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder in which the body produces too much of the thyroid hormones. Other causes of hyperthyroidism include inflammation of the thyroid or overactive nodules in the thyroid, which can produce an excess of the hormones.

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism can cause a variety of symptoms including:

  • Fatigue
  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • Nervousness, restlessness, tremors, or anxiety
  • Weight loss
  • Heat sensitivity and increased sweating
  • Changes in bowel movements (diarrhea or constipation)
  • Swelling in the throat (goiter)
  • Vision problems, such as enlarged eyes (exophthalmos)
  • Nausea and vomiting

Treatment of Hyperthyroidism

If hyperthyroidism is suspected, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition and may include medications, dietary changes, or surgery.

Medications may include beta-blockers to help stabilize heart rate, or anti-thyroid drugs to reduce the amount of hormone being produced by the thyroid. In some cases, radioactive iodine, which destroys the thyroid, can be used. Surgery is sometimes used to remove part of the thyroid.

In addition to medical treatment, dietary changes can also help. Foods high in iodine, such as seafood, should be avoided. Instead, foods that are high in fiber like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes should be eaten.

Prevention of Hyperthyroidism

There is no way to completely prevent hyperthyroidism, but there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk. Avoiding exposure to radiation and eating a healthy diet low in iodine can help reduce the risk.

It is also important to seek medical attention if any of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism are noticed, as early diagnosis and treatment can help to reduce the severity of the condition.