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How Do You Treat Thyroid Storm

How Do You Prevent Hyperthyroidism

Thyroid Storm Symptoms – How to Prevent and Treat this Condition

Iodine intake in the form of supplements and foods should be avoided as it can worsen hyperthyroidism. Vitamin B12, zinc and iron-rich foods should be included in the diet because people with hyperthyroidism are more likely to suffer from these nutrient deficiencies. Excessive weight loss can be managed by taking protein rich foods such as salmon, nuts and legumes. When hyperthyroidism is not treated, it may lead to osteoporosis. Including calcium-rich foods such as dairy products can help prevent such complications. Following a healthy lifestyle by avoiding alcohol, quitting smoking and engaging in regular physical activities can help improve the overall health.

Initial Actions And Primary Survey

Thyroid storm is exceedingly uncommon in the ED but it should be considered in any patient presenting with a hypermetabolic state, and especially those with a history of thyroid disease. Determining where the symptoms of subacute or chronic thyrotoxicosis end and thyroid storm begins is difficult. The focus of the primary survey and the subsequent detailed history and physical examination is to identify those patients at risk for thyroid storm.

Prior to entering the room, review the vital signs. Fever and tachycardia are common findings in thyroid storm. Tachypnea may be seen, particularly in the setting of complicating heart failure. Hypertension and a widened pulse pressure may also be present. The patient may also be agitated and/or anxious.


Airway: The airway is typically not compromised by thyroid storm. However, these patients are often critically ill and the complications or inciting etiology of the patients thyroid storm may require active airway intervention.

Breathing: Tachypnea may occur for numerous reasons: increased basal metabolic rate underlying heart failure as a complication of long standing thyrotoxicosis or other diseases that precipitated thyroid storm .

While performing a primary survey, as with any seriously ill patient, the following should be obtained:

  • Reliable vascular access, cardiac, SpO2, and BP monitoring. Supplemental oxygen if needed.
  • Bedside pointof-care glucose.

How Is Hyperthyroidism Treated

There are many treatment options for hyperthyroidism. Depending on the cause of your hyperthyroidism, some options may be better for you over the long-term. Your healthcare provider will discuss each option with you and help you determine the best treatment for you.

Treatment options for hyperthyroidism can include:

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Can I Get Hypothyroidism From My Hyperthyroidism Treatment

You can get hypothyroidism from hyperthyroidism treatments. This is sometimes the goal of a healthcare provider. In hypothyroidism, the amount of thyroid hormone needs to be boosted. This can be done with medications that you regularly take. Adding hormones to your body is more manageable than trying to get your body to decrease the amount of thyroid hormone it creates.

Can hyperthyroidism cause female infertility?

One of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism in women can be irregular menstrual cycles . The imbalance of thyroid hormone can impact all parts of your body. Some women actually start reaching out to their healthcare provider because of issues becoming pregnant and then learn about a thyroid condition.

How Is Hashimotos Diagnosed

Thyroid Storm

It takes an average of 10 years to be diagnosed with Hashimotos between the start of the autoimmune attack on the thyroid gland, and when the person is diagnosed.

This is because conventional medicine doctors will only test ones TSH levels, but they wont be elevated until Stage 4. There are better tests that are covered by insurance that can reveal thyroid disease up to a decade before a change in TSH is detected. However, most doctors wont run these tests until a change in TSH is seen. It is really quite backward!

The longer this immune response is in place, the more thyroid damage occurs and the greater the likelihood of the person progressing to hypothyroidism, where the thyroid gland becomes so damaged, that it is no longer able to make enough thyroid hormone. If we could detect the condition earlier, we could prevent the damage ! The most helpful tests for diagnosing Hashimotos include thyroid antibody tests and thyroid ultrasounds.

Left unbalanced, the immune system may go on to attack different parts of the body, leading to the development of other autoimmune conditions.

There are no current treatment recommendations or guidelines in the world of conventional medicine to address the immune system attack on the thyroid gland. Rather, the focus is on restoring normal thyroid hormone levels.

Its akin to pouring more water into a bucket with a hole in it, without plugging up the leak!

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What Does My Thyroid Do

Located at the front of your neck, the thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland. Glands are organs that can be found all over your body. They create and release hormones substances that help your body function and grow. The thyroid gland plays a big part in many of your bodys main functions. Your thyroid gland regulates your body temperature and controls your heart rate and metabolism.

When your thyroid gland is working correctly, your body is in balance and all of your systems function properly. If your thyroid stops working in the way its meant to creating too much or too little of thyroid hormones it can impact your entire body.

Thyroid Storm And Graves Disease

Graves disease is an immune system disorder that leads to hyperthyroidism. There could be several causes for hyperthyroidism, but Graves disease is a common cause for it. Thyroid hormones affect nearly all the organ systems of the body. Because of this, the symptoms for Graves disease could be wide-ranging. It is more commonly seen in women and before the age of 40. The primary goal is to lessen the severity of symptoms and to inhibit the overproduction of hormones.

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Goiters Nodules And Thyroid Storms

Goiters and nodules can sometimes be a little tricky.

As the thyroid gland becomes enlarged with too much thyroid hormone , you can run into issues where the thyroid gland unloads too much thyroid hormone at one time.

This is called a thyroid storm.

You see, this buildup of thyroid hormone in the gland can make you very hypothyroid because your gland isnt releasing much thyroid hormone.

Then, all of a sudden, your gland can unload thyroid hormone very quickly.

This large amount of thyroid hormone being secreted very quickly can put you into what we call a transient or temporary hyperthyroid state.

We generally see symptoms such as:

  • Elevated heart rate
  • Feelings of extreme stress

Often, thyroid storms occur in a cyclical pattern.

Its a cycle where you transition between symptoms of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism as your thyroid gland is blocked and enlarges , then unloads before becoming blocked again, starting the process all over.

We have clients who have been misdiagnosed as hyperthyroid because they were seen by their doctor during an unloading phase, when hyperthyroid symptoms are often present.

This can lead to unnecessary medical treatments such as thyroidectomy or Radioactive Iodine treatment, both of which cause permanent damage to the thyroid gland.

Yet, the important thing to realize is that you are actually hypothyroid.

In reality, this is just a transient or temporary hyperthyroid condition.

Thyroid Storm As Allostatic Failure

Thyroid storm Part 2

According to newer theories, thyroid storm results from allostatic failure in a situation where thyrotoxicosis hampers the development of non-thyroidal illness syndrome, which would help to save energy in critical illness and other situations of high metabolic demand.

Usually, in critical illness ” rel=”nofollow”> shock) thyroid function is tuned down to result in low-T3 syndrome and, occasionally, also low TSH concentrations, low-T4 syndrome and impaired plasma protein binding of thyroid hormones. This endocrine pattern is referred to as euthyroid sick syndrome , non-thyroidal illness syndrome or thyroid allostasis in critical illness, tumours, uraemia and starvation . Although NTIS is associated with significantly worse prognosis, it is also assumed to represent a beneficial adaptation . In cases, where critical illness is accompanied by thyrotoxicosis, this comorbidity prevents the down-regulation of thyroid function. Therefore, the consumption of energy, oxygen and glutathione remains high, which leads to further increased mortality.

These new theories imply that thyroid storm results from an interaction of thyrotoxicosis with the specific response of the organism to an oversupply of thyroid hormones.

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What Is The Difference Between Thyrotoxicosis And Thyroid Storm

It’s important to distinguish between the two conditions known as thyrotoxicosis and thyroid storm.

Many people believe they are in a “thyroid storm” when in reality they are suffering from the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, too much thyroid hormone in their body or thyrotoxicosis.

Thyroid storm, on the other hand, is a very serious medical emergency which requires immediate treatment or the result may be death.

It helps to think about hyperthyroidism on a spectrum.

On one side of the spectrum, you have a mild amount of excess thyroid hormone which leads to symptoms such as weight loss, diarrhea, and heart palpitations.

On the complete opposite side, you have the condition known as thyroid storm which may ultimately lead to serious conditions such as liver failure, heart failure, and even death.

So while these two conditions may be caused by the same condition they represent different intensities of the same disease.

The good news is that it’s not likely that you are going to “miss” the symptoms associated with a thyroid storm.

Most people who experience these symptoms will either be taken straight to the emergency department or to their doctor which usually leads to rapid diagnosis.

Even when taken to the hospital, though, mortality rates associated with thyroid storm can be as high as 10-20%.

This means that even with treatment, up to 10-20% of people who have thyroid storm may still die as a result of their condition.

Key Laboratory And Imaging Tests

There are no distinct laboratory abnormalities, and thyroid hormone levels are similar to those found in uncomplicated thyrotoxicosis there is little correlation between the degree of elevation of thyroid hormones and the presentation of thyroid storm.

Thyroid function tests, including an estimate of the free thyroxine concentration , the total T3 concentration and the TSH concentration, should be obtained. A total T4 value on its own is of limited or no use. A free T3 by analog is a less accurate test than a total T3 in this clinical situation. While there is little correlation between thyroid function tests and thyroid storm, a slightly low TSH that remains in the detectable range or a suppressed TSH with FT4/FTI and Total T3 in the normal range renders the diagnosis untenable.

Thyroid antibodies may provide an etiology to the underlying thyroid disorder, but they play no role in the acute management. Similarly, imaging studies, such as nuclear thyroid scanning, have no role in the initial management of thyroid storm.

Burch and Wartofsky published a modified Apache score for the diagnosis of thyroid storm, which says that the diagnosis of thyroid storm is possible with a score of 25-45, likely with a score higher than 45, and unlikely with a score lower than 25. See Table III.

Treatment of Thyroid Storm

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What Caused This Disease To Develop At This Time

Thyroid storm is associated with long-standing, usually untreated, thyrotoxicosis typically, its onset is associated with a precipitating event, such as an acute infection, trauma, or a surgical procedure. Some children with hyperthyroidism have been reported to develop thyroid storm when their anti-thyroid drug treatment was discontinued, either because of a drug side effect or in preparation for radioactive iodine treatment.

There are also case reports of thyroid storm following RAI administration, perhaps caused by a destructive thyroiditis and release of preformed, stored thyroid hormone. Thyroid storm has been reported in a toddler after a large levothyroxine ingestion.

What Complications Of Hyperthyroidism Can Affect My Body

Thyroid Storm Case Study

Hyperthyroidism can impact many parts of your body. Different systems, ranging from your vascular system to your skeletal system can all be affected if you have an overactive thyroid.


When you have hyperthyroidism, it may feel like your heart is beating very quickly. This rapid heartbeat is a symptom of the condition thats caused by your fast metabolism. The body is running faster than normal when you have hyperthyroidism, making you feel like your heart is racing. Having an irregular heartbeat can increase your risk of different medical conditions, including stroke.


The bones are the support structure for your body. When you have unchecked high levels of thyroid hormones, your bones can actually become brittle. This can lead to a condition called osteoporosis.

Eyes and Skin

Hyperthyroidism can be caused by a medical condition called Graves disease. This disease can affect both your eyes and skin. It can cause you to have several eye problems, including:

  • Bulging eyes.
  • Double vision and light sensitivity.
  • Redness and swelling of the eyes.

Graves disease can also cause your skin to become red and swollen. This is particularly noticeable on the feet and shins.

Another complication of hyperthyroidism is something called a thyroid storm . This is a sudden and dramatic increase in your symptoms. When this happens, your heart may beat even faster than normal and you may develop a fever. A thyroid storm is an emergency situation.

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Inhibiting Thyroid Hormone Release

The next line of treatment is inhibiting the release of preformed hormone. Iodine administration, additionally, blocks the release of preformed hormone by inhibiting the release of iodothyronines from thyroglobulin . This effect of iodine has a faster onset than PTU, which blocks synthesis in a thyroid gland that has a large store of already formed hormone . The combination therapy of thionamides and iodine decrease serum T4 levels to normal range in 45 days .

Managing A Thyroid Storm: Your Most Important Questions Answered

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If you’re here because you think you’re experiencing a thyroid storm, seek medical care right away — thyroid storms are rare, but they can sometimes be life-threatening. They usually happen in cases of untreated thyrotoxicosis, a condition caused by an overactive thyroid, and they develop very quickly, which can be scary and confusing. Luckily, there are a number of effective treatments, and those treatments work even better if you get medical attention ASAP. Want more info? This guide answers your most common questions about thyroid storms.

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Can Hyperthyroidism Be Cured

Yes, there is a permanent treatment for hyperthyroidism. Removing your thyroid through surgery will cure hyperthyroidism. However, once the thyroid is removed, you will need to take thyroid hormone replacement medications for the rest of your life. Your body still needs thyroid hormones, just not at such high levels as you have in hyperthyroidism. Though you will need to regularly take the medication and check in with your healthcare provider regularly, this is a manageable form of thyroid disease which allows you to live a normal life.

What Causes Thyroid Storm

What is a Thyroid Storm? Thyroid Storm Symptoms and Treatment

Thyroid storm can be considered to be an extreme degree of hyperthyroidism and typically occurs in an individual with untreated hyperthyroidism. Precipitating factors, including trauma and stresses, have been identified, including:

  • Infections, especially of the lung
  • Thyroid surgery in patients with overactive thyroid gland
  • Stopping medications given for hyperthyroidism
  • Treatment with radioactive iodine

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Adverse Side Effects From Antithyroid Drugs

Since 2010, the US Food and Drug Administration has added a boxed warning to the prescribing information of PTU to include information about reports of severe liver injury and acute liver failure, some of which have been fatal, in adult and pediatric patients using this medication. The US Food and Drug Administration recommends that PTU be reserved for patients who cannot tolerate methimazole. PTU is preferred only in the case of pregnant women during the first trimester as methimazole use during this period had been associated with teratogenicity. Nevertheless, methimazole is suggested for use during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

Treatment aim 3: inhibition of hormone release


Lugol solution, potassium iodide, or ipodate can be given to stop thyroid hormone release. Thionamide therapy must be instituted first, and these drugs only given at least 1âh later. Iodine therapy blocks the release of prestored hormone and decreases iodide transport and oxidation in follicular cells. Lugol solution can be given three to four times to a total of 30â40 drops/day. Initial treatment may start with 8â10 drops. Lugol solution provides 8âmg iodide/drop.


Treatment aim 4: preventing peripheral conversion of thyroxine to triiodothyronine

Treatment aim 5: β-adrenergic receptor blockade

Treatment aim 6: identifying precipitating factors

Consequent management and definitive therapy

What Are The Possible Outcomes Of Thyroid Storm And Thyrotoxicosis

Thyroid storm is a rare, but potentially life-threatening disorder. Mortality has been reported to be as high as 30% in adults. There are only case reports of thyroid storm in children, but a literature search did not disclose any deaths, so it may be that children have a better prognosis than adults. The outcome likely is influenced by the severity of the precipitating event, its treatment, and prognosis. Children with thyroid storm complicated by seizures require consultation by a pediatric neurologist and likely anti-convulsant therapy.

Thyroid storm is associated with severe thyrotoxicosis. Once thyroid storm has resolved, thyrotoxicosis persists and requires continuing treatment. Graves disease, the most common cause of hyperthyroidism in children, initially is treated with anti-thyroid drugs, and often for many years. Some children will achieve a remission with anti-thyroid drugs, but those who do not will eventually require another, more definitive treatment. Definitive treatment options include radioactive iodine ablation or surgical thyroidectomy. Most children undergoing either of these procedures will become hypothyroid.

Once thyroid storm has resolved, there are risks/benefits of the three main treatment options for thyrotoxicosis: anti-thyroid drugs, radioactive iodine, or surgery. Most patients/parents initially choose anti-thyroid drug treatment. With good compliance, nearly all patients will become euthyroid on anti-thyroid drugs.

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