Hyperthyroidism is a disease of the thyroid gland in which the gland produces excessive amounts of thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland controls a person’s a person’s metabolism or the pace of your body’s processes. These processes are thrown in flux due to hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is more common in women than in men, with a ratio of 5:1. 1.3% is the overall prevalence of hyperthyroidism. In India too, the prevalence is around 1.3% to 1.6% according to surveys.
The symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:
- Muscle Weakness
- Hand tremors
- Mood swings
- Nervousness and anxiety
- Increased heartbeat
- Thickening and drying of skin
- Unexplained weight loss
- Trouble sleeping
- Increased frequency of bowel movements
- Development of a goitre in some people, an enlarged thyroid gland that looks like a swelling in the neck
When to see a doctor?
See a doctor if you or your loved ones experience any of the above mentioned symptoms. Always trust premier medical institutions like Paras Hospitals, which have specialized departments for treatment and management of such diseases.
Causes and Risk Factors
The thyroid gland is responsible for making thyroxin (T₄) and triiodothyronine (T₃) hormones.These hormones play a vital role in controlling the metabolism. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland makes too much of these. Common causes are Graves’ disease, or toxic nodular goitre. Risk factors include:
- Gender: Being Female increases chances of developing the disease
- Age: Being over 60 does too
- Recent pregnancy
- Having an auto-immune disease (like type 1 diabetes)
- Family history of such diseases
- Consuming significant amounts of iodine through food or medications
Treatment and Management
Fortunately, there are several treatments available for hyperthyroidism. A doctor will decide after consulting with you which course of treatment will be the best for you, depending on your age, physical condition, severity of the disorder and other factors.
- Radioactive iodine: Which will be taken orally, causing the thyroid gland to shrink and stop producing the hormones.
- Anti-thyroid medication: These medications reduce symptoms by preventing the thyroid gland from producing excess hormones.
- Beta-blockers: These are given to reduce rapid heart rates and heart palpitations that accompany hyper-thyroidism. They won’t treat the disease, but will help.
- Surgery: Surgery might be an option in few cases. Most of the thyroid gland is removed in the surgery, which means you’ll need lifelong thyroid hormone medication to compensate for the removed gland.