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Hyperthyroidism: What You Need to Know

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What Does Your Thyroid Do?

Your thyroid is an endocrine gland at the base of your throat that is responsible for producing hormones. These hormones help regulate many processes in the body, such as breathing, heart rate, weight, body temperature, and muscle strength. One of the most important functions of your thyroid is your metabolism (how your body burns energy). Often, a slowed down or increased metabolism is one of the earliest signs of thyroid issues.

The thyroid creates two important hormones called triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) which are released into the bloodstream and travels to the majority of your body’s cells. Healthy thyroid health means that these two hormones are balanced, because whether they are too high or too low, vital body functions affected by metabolism will be affected (such as heart rate and weight gain or loss).

Thyroid Conditions and Diseases

To properly diagnose thyroid conditions and diseases, your doctor can run tests or a biopsy if needed. Here are some issues that can develop with an unhealthy thyroid:

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Thyroiditis
  • Thyroid nodules
  • Goiter
  • Thyroid cancer

In this article we will focus on hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, but if you suspect that you have thyroid issues and the symptoms we describe don’t match yours, do see your doctor to learn more.

Hyperthyroidism Causes & Symptoms

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When your thyroid gland is overactive, this leads to hyperthyroidism and an overproduction of thyroid hormones. Hyperthyroidism is often a result of Graves’ disease, which is an autoimmune disorder. Other causes include pregnancy, thyroiditis, an excess of iodine or a multinodular or toxic nodular goiter.

  • Developed goiter
  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Increased sweating
  • Increased or irregular heart rate
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shaking hands
  • Weight loss
  • Troubled sleeping
  • Fatigue and muscle weakness
  • Dry skin

Hyperthyroidism Treatment

The good news is that hyperthyroidism can be treated and managed. Your doctor will recommend effective antithyroid medications such as Synthroid or beta blockers that will help slow down your overactive thyroid. Radioactive iodine therapy may be recommended for cases where medication is not yielding satisfactory results, or if the severity of your case requires. For some, thyroid surgery may be necessary to address your hyperthyroidism.

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