Hyperthyroidism is a thyroid gland disorder that can affect a person's health. The thyroid gland is a small organ located in the neck and plays an important role in regulating the body's metabolism. When the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, the condition is known as hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces excessive amounts of thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormones, especially triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), play a role in regulating the body's metabolism. When too much thyroid hormone is produced, the body's metabolism increases rapidly, causing various health problems.
Causes of Hyperthyroidism
There are several causes of hyperthyroidism, the most common of which are:
1. Graves' disease
This is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Graves' disease is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks the thyroid gland, prompting it to produce more thyroid hormone than needed.
2. Thyroid Nodules
The thyroid gland can have nodules or lumps that become hyperactive and start producing excess thyroid hormone. These nodules are known as "hot nodules."
This condition is a short-term inflammation of the thyroid gland that can trigger the release of stored thyroid hormone, resulting in a temporary increase in thyroid hormone in the blood.
4. Thyroid tumor
Although rare, both benign and malignant thyroid tumors can produce excess thyroid hormone.
Some drugs, such as those used for arrhythmias, some types of cancer and infections, as well as drugs commonly used for bipolar disorder can affect the function of the thyroid gland.
6. Neck radiation therapy
If someone has had radiation therapy to the neck, for example to treat head and neck cancer, they have a higher risk of developing hyperthyroidism later in life.
7. Iodine deficiency
Although rare in countries with sufficient access to iodine, a lack of iodine in the diet can cause the thyroid gland to work harder and ultimately lead to hyperthyroidism. It is important to remember that the causes of hyperthyroidism can vary from individual to individual. Proper diagnosis by a medical professional is essential to identify the specific cause in each case and plan treatment accordingly.
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
You need to be aware of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism before it becomes more fatal. Hyperthyroidism sufferers can experience a variety of symptoms, including:
- Significant weight loss : Excessive metabolism can cause rapid weight loss, even though diet remains normal.
- Fast heartbeat (Palpitations) & Heart Rhythm Disorders : The heart beats faster than normal, which can cause discomfort and weakness.
- Irritability and restlessness : Changes in thyroid hormones can affect mood and cause anxiety or irritability.
- Increased sweating : Hyperthyroidism sufferers often sweat more than usual, even in cold weather.
- Shaking and tremors : Shaking of the hands or fingers is a common symptom.
- Having trouble sleeping : Difficulty sleeping or insomnia is common.
- Thin, fragile skin : Skin can become thinner and prone to cuts or abrasions.
- Changes in the menstrual cycle : Women may experience irregular periods.
Management and Maintenance
If you experience symptoms of hyperthyroidism, consult a doctor immediately. Treatment and management of hyperthyroidism may include:
- Medications : Your doctor may prescribe medications to stop excess thyroid hormone production.
- Radiation therapy : In some cases, radiation therapy may be used to destroy the overactive thyroid gland.
- Surgery : If medications and radiation therapy are ineffective, surgery to remove part or all of the thyroid gland may be necessary.
- Regular monitoring : Regular monitoring and regular blood tests will help ensure that treatment is going well.
Hyperthyroidism is a serious disorder that affects the balance of hormones in the body. Symptoms that appear need to be watched out for and treated immediately to prevent more serious complications. With proper management, hyperthyroidism can be controlled, and sufferers can live a healthy and normal life. If you or someone you know experiences symptoms of hyperthyroidism, immediately consult with us at EMC Healthcare. Our experienced doctors guarantee that you receive comprehensive and appropriate treatment. Health is a valuable asset and understanding hyperthyroidism is the first step in protecting it.
Article written by dr. Elyanawati, Sp.PD (Internal Medicine Specialist at EMC Alam Sutera Hospital).