Contrary to hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism may cause sudden weight loss, sweating , irritability and irregular heartbeat. In case of hyperthyroidism there is increased metabolism, hyperactivity of the heart rhythm, and extreme restlessness and anxiety .

The symptoms of hyperthyroidism are also quite generalized

  • Sudden weight loss, even when appetite and the amount and type of food remain the same or even increase
  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) — commonly more than 100 beats a minute — irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) or pounding of your heart (palpitations)
  • Increased appetite
  • Nervousness, anxiety and irritability
  • Tremor — usually a fine trembling in hands and fingers
  • Sweating
  • Changes in menstrual patterns
  • Increased sensitivity to heat
  • Changes in bowel patterns, especially more frequent bowel movements
  • An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), which may appear as a swelling at the base of your neck
  • Fatigue, muscle weakness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Skin thinning
  • Fine, brittle hair

Causes:

Hyperthyroidism

Grave’s disease : This is an auto-immune disorder wherein certain bacteria result in inflammation in the body. The antibodies produced to attack the bacteria may in turn attack the healthy cells in the body including thyroid gland cells resulting in their increased stimulation and release of the thyroid hormones. It is more common in young women and may be hereditary.

Thyrotoxicosis : This type of hyperthyroidism may result from

Multi-nodular goiter or toxic nodular goiter – Lumps or Nodules may grow in the thyroid gland that lead to its expansion and oversecretion of its hormones.

Thyroiditis : Any kind of infection due to virus or bacteria that can result in the release of stored thyroid hormones into the circulation in excess of requirement. Sometimes, thyroiditis may also result from overdose of thyroid hormones prescribed for hypothyroidism.

Diagnosis

TSH – low TSH levels indicate hyperthyroidism as there is more than required amount of thyroid hormones circulating in blood so as a negative feedback mechanism, hypothalamus does not release TSH.

T4 – High T4 levels are seen when thyroid gland is overactive.

In some cases, thyroid scan may be required to see presence of lumps or abnormal growth in the tissue.

Treatment

The treatment for hyperthyroidism is not simple and requires proper assessment of all factors such as age, cause, severity and other concomitant diseases.

Thyroid problems do not produce specific symptoms and so diagnosis is missed or delayed. In fact, most people think that these are purely hereditary problems and may not get thyroid hormones checked often. But, we can see that malfunctioning of thyroid gland has very detrimental effects on health and hence it should not be ignored.

 

Written by drpoojachhawcharia

Dr Pooja Chhawcharia is the Senior Nutritionist at eKincare with over 7 years of experience in Nutrition education, diet counseling and research. She is a Registered Dietician with the Indian Dietetic Association and Certified Diabetes Educator recognized by the International Diabetes federation . She is also interested in ancillary sciences such as Yoga and Naturopathy.

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