It is a condition in which thyroid gland produces an excess of thyroid hormones. Hyperthyroidism is another term for an overactive thyroid. This condition accelerates the body metabolism which leads to an unintentional weight loss along with rapid or irregular heartbeat sometimes. It can be a serious problem if ignored and not diagnosed early in its initial stages.
The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped structure present at the front base of the neck. This gland is responsible for the synthesis of tetraiodothyronine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which are the main hormone which controls the body cells to utilize energy. The primary function of thyroid gland is to regulate metabolism via the release of these thyroid hormones in the body. During overactive thyroid state excess or T3, T4 or both occur. Diagnosis and treatment of an underlying cause can help in getting relief from symptoms and further preventing the deterioration of the condition.
Hyperthyroid treatment options are available and normally anti-thyroid medication as well as radioactive iodine is prescribed by the doctors for this. These medications slow down the excessive thyroid hormone formation in the body. However, it is essential to get the early diagnosis of this condition. Otherwise, hyperthyroid condition reaches such a level that medications are unable to cure or treat it and the final option is left with surgery. The surgical treatment of thyroid gland involves partial or complete thyroid gland removal as per the need. So do not wait for last stages of thyroid troubles and get a Thyroid Test Done.
What are the signs and symptoms of overactive thyroid?
Hyperthyroidism can cause various mild to severe signs and symptoms. It might even become difficult for the doctor to diagnose thyroid disorder based only on symptoms. Because there are no fixed symptom parameters. An individual cannot experience all the symptoms at the same time. Further, different individuals react differently to symptoms. Few individuals might experience mild symptoms and others might develop severe symptoms.
These symptoms might appear gradually or all of a sudden. Also, at times in elderly people, symptoms might not be noticeable due to their subtle nature of appearance. Like heart rate variations, and intolerance towards heat or cold etc.
Following are the few signs and symptoms which can depict the presence of hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid condition:
- Rapid heartbeat or tachycardia which comes out be over 100 normally
- Unintentional weight loss, even though food intake and appetite remains nearly the same
- Irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia along with palpitations
- Increase in appetite
- Nervousness, anxiety, and even irritability
- Mood swings which make it harder to even focus
- Tremors occur making hands and fingers tremble very often
- Changes even reflect in menstrual patterns because of hormonal imbalance in the body
- Increased sensitivity towards the heat
- Changes in bowel patterns mainly the increased frequency of bowel movements and diarrhea at times
- Muscle weakness or feeling of fatigue very often
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Thinning of skin and hair
- Hair even turn fine because of thinning and also becomes brittle and immense hair fall
- Constant feeling of thirst
- Itchiness and skin rashes or hives
- Lack of interest in sex life
- Nails become loose and brittle
- A physical sign of swelling around the neck because of the enlarged thyroid gland or goiter condition
- Massive weight loss besides increased appetite and diet
- Eye troubles like redness, dryness or even vision problems
Few treatment options for an overactive thyroid.
Eating a diet with a balance of sodium and calcium is essential to prevent hyperthyroidism. You must follow the recommended healthy diet guidelines along with nutritional supplements and exercise to prevent overactive thyroid.
An overactive thyroid condition is a treatable one. But you must visit an endocrinologist for a confirmed diagnosis via Thyroid profile tests. Hyperthyroidism if ignored can further cause weakening and thinning of the bones leading to osteoporosis condition. Vitamin D and calcium supplements can help in preventing osteoporosis.
Following are the three main line of treatments for overactive thyroid:
- Medication therapy
- Radioactive iodine treatment
Your doctor is the best person to decide which medication to prescribe as per your lab results. The common medications used to treat overactive thyroid condition includes thionamides like carbimazole and propylthiouracil, which helps in stopping the thyroid from excessive hormone production. Along with this, another medicine of any beta blocker might also be given to relieve symptoms quickly. However, it takes nearly a month or two to notice any benefits from the therapy.
Once thyroid levels come under control with the medicine then later your doctor might gradually decrease the dosage and finally stop the medication. Sometimes, the benefits are not so quick and at rare times people have to rely on these medications for a longer period of time.
Like every medicine thyroid medications also reflect some side effects:
- Sick to stomach
- Joint pain
- Itchy Rashes
- Feeling sick and tired all the time
These side effects appear in the initial phase of therapy and eventually subside upon continuing the therapy. However, in rare cases, if you feel anything severe or abnormal then you must consult your doctor immediately. A very rare and serious side effect is of sudden drop of white blood cell level or agranulocytosis in the body. It can make a person very prone to infections and hence it increases the complications as well.
Our health is very important and we must not casually ignore any abnormal signs and symptoms which persist for long. Getting an early diagnosis of thyroid
isorder can help combat the situation with ease. Otherwise, a real delay might leave no other option except surgery in severe cases of thyroid malfunctioning. So get your thyroid profile done annually and it is mandatory for elderly people to get it done on regul
ar basis for early detection to avoid complications.