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What Are The Signs Of An Overactive Thyroid

/8common Warning Signs Of A Thyroid Disorder To Never Ignore

Hyperthyroidism Symptoms, overactive thyroid signs and symptoms. Dr. explains

Experiencing extreme fatigue, hair loss, menstrual irregularities of late? Or have you been feeling shaky, anxious, sweaty and hungrier?

While these are some common symptoms which could be experienced by people across ages, chances are that the symptoms become a lot more evident if your thyroid gland is acting up. The thyroid gland is an important hormone regulator, but it can be incredibly possible for it to flare-up, especially in women. For a condition that’s as common as 1 in 8 women worldwide, it’s also reported that as many as 60% of women who do have thyroid problems are blatantly unaware about the symptoms.

How Does Thyroid Disease Affect Pregnancy

Pregnancy-related hormones raise the level of thyroid hormones in the blood. Thyroid hormones are necessary for the baby’s brain development while in the womb.

It can be harder to diagnose thyroid problems during pregnancy because of the change in hormone levels that normally happen during pregnancy. But it is especially important to check for problems before getting pregnant and during pregnancy. Uncontrolled hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can cause problems for both mother and baby.

Hyperthyroidism that is not treated with medicine during pregnancy can cause:

  • Premature birth
  • a serious condition starting after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Preeclampsia causes high blood pressure and problems with the kidneys and other organs. The only cure for preeclampsia is childbirth.
  • Thyroid storm
  • Fast heart rate in the newborn, which can lead to heart failure, poor weight gain, or an enlarged thyroid that can make it hard to breathe
  • Low birth weight
  • Miscarriage

Treatment Options And Prevention For Hyperthyroidism

Treatment of hyperthyroidism generally falls into three categories: blocking the effects of thyroid hormone with antithyroid medications, destroying the overactive thyroid gland using radioactive iodine, and surgically removing overactive thyroid tissue.

The preferred treatment varies depending on the cause and specific circumstances of a given individuals hyperthyroidism, so it is important to review the options with your doctor. Broadly speaking, antithyroid medications have the advantage of being non-invasive and reversible. Both surgery and radioactive iodine offer more permanent solutions but tend to disrupt normal thyroid function, leading to the need for lifelong thyroid hormone supplementation.

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How Is Thyroid Cancer Treated

The main treatment for thyroid cancer is surgery to take out the whole thyroid gland or as much of it as can be safely removed. Surgery alone can cure thyroid cancer if the cancer is small and has not yet spread to lymph nodes.

Your doctor may also use radioiodine therapy after surgery. Radioiodine therapy destroys any thyroid cancer cells that were not removed during surgery or that have spread to other parts of the body.

Your doctor may also talk with you about other treatments for thyroid cancer. Learn more about thyroid cancer treatments at the National Cancer Institute.

What Should You Do If You Think You Have Signs And Symptoms Of A Thyroid Disorder Which Type Of Doctors Treat Thyroid Problems

Overactive Thyroid Symptoms in Women
  • Thyroid disease is a broad spectrum of disorders that may or may not lead to enlargement of the thyroid gland itself or the presence of lumps or nodules.
  • Signs and symptoms of thyroid disease are apparent when the gland is over- or under-producing thyroid hormone.
  • It is important to remember that none of these symptoms described in this article is specific for thyroid disease.
  • A number of different conditions and normal states may cause all of them.
  • Your doctor or endocrinologist can order laboratory tests to evaluate the function of your thyroid gland if you have troubling symptoms.

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How To Treat Thyroid Problems

Now that you know more about the problems that indicate thyroid problems, what should you do? Of course, the first thing you should do is ask your doctor about your symptoms. Depending on your symptoms, you may have another condition that needs to be treated.

However, if you are experiencing several of these symptoms at a time, you most likely have a thyroid condition.

Before you start receiving treatments, first youll need to work with your doctor to get tested. Typically this will include blood tests to check the levels of T4 and T3 in your blood. When the tests come back, your doctor will help you know that to do next.

Usually, treatments include hormone replacement therapy. Iodine supplements may be prescribed in order to treat goiters.

However, if your symptoms are severe, it can be a sign of thyroid cancer. In which case youll need to visit a thyroid surgeon to remove the cancerous cells. Chemotherapy and radiation oncology are also viable options.

Who Is At Risk For Thyroid Cancer

About three times as many women get thyroid cancer as men. The number of women with thyroid cancer is also going up. By 2020, the number of women with thyroid cancer is expected to double, from 34,000 women to more than 70,000 women.

Thyroid cancer is more common in women who:

  • Are between the ages of 25 and 65
  • Had radiation therapy to the head or neck, especially in childhood, to treat cancer
  • Have a history of
  • Have a family history of thyroid cancer

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How Are Thyroid Diseases Diagnosed

It can be hard to tell if you have a thyroid disease. The symptoms are the same as many other health problems. Your doctor may start by asking about your health history and if any of your family members has had thyroid disease. Your doctor may also give you a physical exam and check your neck for thyroid nodules.

Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may also do other tests, such as:

  • Blood tests. Testing the level of thyroid stimulating hormone in your blood can help your doctor figure out if your thyroid is overactive or underactive. TSH tells your thyroid to make thyroid hormones. Depending on the results, your doctor might do another blood test to check levels of one or both thyroid hormones in your blood.
  • Radioactive iodine uptake test. For this test, you swallow a liquid or capsule that holds a small dose of radioactive iodine . The radioiodine collects in your thyroid because your thyroid uses iodine to make thyroid hormone.

High levels of radioiodine mean that your thyroid makes too much of the thyroid hormone. Low levels mean that your thyroid does not make enough thyroid hormone.

  • Thyroid ultrasound. The thyroid ultrasound uses sound waves to make a picture of the thyroid on a computer screen. This test can help your doctor tell what type of nodule you have and how large it is. You may need more thyroid ultrasounds over time to see if your nodule is growing or shrinking.
  • Changes In Menstrual Cycle Or Sexual Performance

    Overactive Thyroid

    Hormonal changes are closely linked to sexual function. If you find that your period is becoming irregular, heavier, or more painful than before, or if you are experiencing stronger emotional symptoms tied to PMS, your thyroid might be the cause.

    You might also experience difficulty with sexual performance or enjoyment. If you are having difficulty with libido or achieving orgasm or if you cannot maintain an erection, you could also be struggling with a thyroid-related symptom.

    While these are uncomfortable issues to talk about, they should absolutely be addressed with us to rule out not only thyroid trouble but also anything else that might quietly be causing these issues.

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    Whos At Risk For Hyperthyroidism

    According to the National Institute of Health , hyperthyroidism affects approximately 1.2% of the population in the US. Although it occurs in both men and women, its up to 10 times more likely in females.

    Youre at higher risk for hyperthyroidism if you:

    • Have a family history of thyroid disease
    • Have pernicious anemia
    • Have primary adrenal insufficiency, also known as Addisons disease
    • Consume an iodine-rich diet or medications containing iodine
    • Are over the age of 60
    • Were pregnant within the past 6 months
    • Had thyroid surgery or a thyroid problem such as a goiter also known as a swollen thyroid gland

    What are hyperthyroidism symptoms?

    Though an overactive thyroid brings on a constellation of high thyroid symptoms , some of them dont seem obviously linked to the condition . Heres what to look for.

    Who Is More Likely To Develop Hyperthyroidism

    Women are 2 to 10 times more likely than men to develop hyperthyroidism.2 You are more likely to have hyperthyroidism if you

  • eat large amounts of food containing iodine, such as kelp, or use medicines that contain iodine, such as amiodarone, a heart medicine
  • are older than age 60, especially if you are a woman
  • were pregnant within the past 6 months
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    Causes Of Hyperthyroidism In Men

    A condition known as Graves disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism for men, though women are still more likely to develop this autoimmune disorder.

    Having Graves disease means your immune system mistakenly attacks a healthy thyroid gland, causing it to produce too much thyroid hormone. It usually develops between the ages of 30 and 50, though it can form at any age.

    Other causes include:

    • nodules, which are abnormal clusters of thyroid cells within the gland
    • Plummers disease, also known as toxic nodular goiter, which is more common in women and people over age 60
    • thyroiditis, any of several conditions that cause inflammation of the thyroid gland
    • too much iodine intake from medicines or diet

    There are many signs of hyperthyroidism. Some, like difficulty sleeping, you may not notice or think of as symptoms of a serious underlying health condition. Others, like an abnormally rapid heartbeat should get your attention quickly.

    Other common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

    • unexpected weight loss, even when food consumption and appetite remain unchanged
    • irregular heartbeat

    Final Thoughts + Your Next Steps

    The vital importance of thyroid health.

    The bottom line?

    An overactive thyroid is a potentially serious disease that results from too much thyroid hormone production in your body.

    This production is usually caused by an autoimmune disease such as Graves’ disease, but it can also be caused by other less common conditions as well.

    Occasionally, some patients may experience transient bouts of an overactive thyroid with disease states such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

    It’s important to identify an overactive thyroid so that you can undergo proper treatment to prevent long-term damage to your heart and bones.

    Natural therapies for hyperthyroidism may work for some people, but be careful when using these therapies.

    If you suspect you have an overactive thyroid your next step should be to consult with your physician and get some basic thyroid labs.

    Labs such as your TSH, Free T3, and Free T4 can easily identify hyperthyroidism in the majority of patients.

    Now I want to hear from you:

    Are you suffering from the symptoms of an overactive thyroid?

    Do you have a diagnosis of Graves’ disease or hyperthyroidism?

    Are you undergoing treatment and suffering from weight gain?

    Leave your comments below!

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    When To See A Gp

    See a GP if you have symptoms of an overactive thyroid.

    They’ll ask about your symptoms and if they think you might have a thyroid problem, they can arrange for a blood test to check how well your thyroid is working.

    If the blood test shows that you have an overactive thyroid, you may be referred for further tests to identify the cause.

    Frequent Muscle Aches And Tenderness

    A common complaint of those with undiagnosed thyroid issues is frequent muscle aches.

    It can be characterised by long-term and widespread pain and soreness. This pain is often not specific to one particular area- much like those diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

    In fact, both an underactive thyroid and fibromyalgia can be linked to a food intolerance .

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    /8unexplained Weight Loss Or Gain

    Thyroid levels have a huge impact on your overall metabolism and keep your weight in check as well. While there are a lot of reasons for weight loss or gain, if you have been recording abrupt or unexplained changes in your weight, chances are that you may first need to get your thyroid checked. While low levels of thyroid hormones could lead to weight gain, an overactive thyroid could land in an overdrive and make you lose weight unexpectedly. Weight loss related to hypothyroidism is one of the most common changes observed in women.

    What Role Does The Thyroid Play

    Overactive Thyroid (Hyperthyroid Disease)

    Just like other organs of the body, controlling and regulating proper thyroid function is quite crucial. The thyroid organ, a butterfly-shaped organ which rests in front of our neck is an organ responsible for production of important hormones, from triiodothyronine and thyroxine , which regulate vital functions such as weight loss, metabolism, energy to maintaining your skin, hair health as well or even affect your body temperature. The thyroid stimulating hormone is yet another important hormone which further instructs the thyroid to produce more of T3 and T4 levels. Thus, any flare-up or concerning elevation or lowering down of these important hormones can lead to an overactive or underactive function, and lead to a thyroid disorder.

    Having said that, we list some common symptoms to be particularly careful of:

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    Diagnosis Of Hyperthyroidism In Men

    Just because women may be more likely to develop hyperthyroidism, doesnt mean that men shouldnt be tested as their risks increase. You should have noticeable symptoms evaluated. You should also be screened for hyperthyroidism if you have a family history of thyroid disease or are over age 60. Likewise, you may be at higher risk if you have type 2 diabetes, in which case, you should consider thyroid disease screening.

    Hyperthyroidism evaluation starts with a review of your medical history and symptoms. Your doctor may look to see if you have a tremor and changes in your eyes or skin. They may also check if you have overactive reflexes. All of these may indicate an overactive thyroid.

    In addition to a physical exam, hyperthyroidism screening should include a test for thyroid stimulating hormone and thyroxine, the main hormone released by the thyroid gland. An imaging test called a thyroid scan can also be helpful in diagnosing hyperthyroidism.

    Talk with your doctor about getting screened, as thyroid disease is a widely underdiagnosed and undertreated health problem. An estimated 60 percent of people with some form of thyroid disease dont know they have the condition.

    Hyperthyroidism can be more difficult to treat than hypothyroidism, which can usually be managed by taking synthetic thyroid hormone. The options for overactive thyroid treatment include:

    Common Symptoms Of Hyperthyroidism

    Because of the role your thyroid plays in your metabolism, having high levels of thyroid hormones in your body can cause an elevated metabolic rate.

    This hypermetabolic state causes a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, including:

    • Excessive or unusual sweating
    • Prominent or protruding eyes
    • An enlarged or visibly swollen thyroid gland

    You can also have life-threatening symptoms, like atrial fibrillation and arrhythmias that can cause strokes or congestive heart failure. If you experience shortness of breath, dizziness, loss of consciousness, or changes in your heart rate, seek medical attention immediately.

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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.

    Signs And Symptoms Your Thyroid Is Too Active

    Best 25+ Overactive thyroid ideas on Pinterest ...

    Remember that your thyroid helps control the activity of most of the cells and tissues in your body.

    This can be a way to help you figure out what is going on.

    Imagine if you simply activate or overactive the cells and tissues in your body, how would you react?

    Using this logic we can figure out exactly how patients with an overactive thyroid would present:

    If you activate your heart cells too much you’ll end up with a rapid heart rate or heart palpitations.

    If you activate your bones too much you’ll increase bone turnover and end up with bone loss and osteoporosis.

    If you activate your gastrointestinal tract too much you’ll end up with diarrhea or loose stools.

    If you activate the neurons in your brain you’ll end up with increased brain activity and anxiety or panic attacks.

    ALL of these symptoms tend to be associated with overactive thyroid activity.

    You can find the complete list of symptoms associated with an overactive thyroid below:

    • Weight loss
    • Protrusion of the eyes

    It’s also important to understand two things:

    #1. Some of these symptoms may be associated with other medical conditions or caused by certain medications.

    Common medical conditions, such as Menopause, may cause some similar symptoms such as hair loss, weight gain, and even hot flashes.

    The similarity of symptoms between these conditions can be confusing, but the good news is that you can tease out the difference with simple lab tests.

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