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What Does An Overactive Thyroid Do To Your Body

A Special Caution For Women

What is an Overactive Thyroid?

Pregnant women or women who want to become pregnant in the next 6 months should not use radioactive iodine, as the treatment can destroy the fetus’s thyroid and impair its development. In fact, women should wait a year before conceiving if they have been treated with the therapy. Women who are breast-feeding should also not use radioactive iodine.

Are There Complications Of Hyperthyroidism

Thyroid storm is a rare but serious complication of hyperthyroidism. It happens when your thyroid makes and releases a large amount of thyroid hormone in a short amount of time. Thyroid storm is a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate medical attention.

Symptoms of thyroid storm include:

  • High fever a temperature between 104 degrees to 106 degrees Fahrenheit is common.
  • Rapid heart rate that can exceed 140 beats per minute.
  • Feeling agitated, irritable and/or anxious.
  • Congestive heart failure.
  • Loss of consciousness.

A complication of Graves disease, one of the causes of hyperthyroidism, is called Graves eye disease . This condition can usually not be prevented. Graves eye disease can cause the following complications:

  • Bulging eyes.

When Should I See My Healthcare Provider

If youre experiencing signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism, its important to see your healthcare provider so they can assess your condition and recommend treatment.

If youve already been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, youll likely need to see your provider regularly to make sure your treatment is working.

If youre experiencing signs of thyroid storm, a complication of hyperthyroidism, such as a high fever and a very fast heart rate, get to the nearest hospital as soon as possible.

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Thyroid Function For Women

The thyroid is one of the most important, and often mismanaged, glands we have working in our body. Located in the front of our neck, this butterfly-shaped gland secretes hormones that control some major functions including weight management, how we use energy, how we metabolize food, and even how we sleep. For women, hormones can shift out of balance during childbearing, menopause, and even under chronic stress. This means that women have a higher rate of thyroid conditions than men, and it impact them in many stages of their lives.

We hear about thyroid concerns every day, as women want to understand symptoms that point to faulty thyroid functioning. Healthcare practitioners frequently rely solely on blood tests and do not work through the delicate gray area between your lab results are fine and lets try prescription hormone therapy. But considering only these two very different ends of the spectrum leaves women at risk for a lifetime of thyroid imbalance, and possibly more serious, even irreversible, thyroid conditions.

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In People Being Treated For Thyroid Disease

What Does It Mean When Your Thyroid Is Overactive

A high TSH may be found in people being treated for either hypo- or hyperthyroidism.

With hypothyroidism, a high TSH usually means that the dose of thyroid hormone replacement needs to be increased.

In some cases, however, the dose is okay, but the medication is not being fully absorbed. For example, many foods and medications can affect the absorption of Synthroid in your system. Learning what to avoid while taking this medication is important for it to work properly.

With hyperthyroidism, a high TSH usually means that the treatmentbe it surgery, radioactive iodine, or medicationswas so effective in limiting the production of thyroid hormone that it caused the person to become hypothyroid.

A low TSH often means that a person has an elevated level of thyroid hormones.

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Favorite Hyperthyroidism Online Support Networks

While weve found numerous blogs related to thyroid health, is one of the few places that offers online networking specifically for people with hyperthyroidism. Here you can post questions and provide helpful insights to other hyperthyroid patients who need advice. While youre there, you can read up on some of the latest hyperthyroidism-related news from

This resource aims to educate people about Graves disease. Topics you can read up on include general treatments, anti-thyroid drug experiences, symptom relief, complications, and more.

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.
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    Can Thyroid Disease Cause Problems Getting Pregnant

    Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can make it harder for you to get pregnant. This is because problems with the thyroid hormone can upset the balance of the hormones that cause ovulation. Hypothyroidism can also cause your body to make more prolactin, the hormone that tells your body to make breastmilk. Too much prolactin can prevent ovulation.

    Thyroid problems can also affect the menstrual cycle. Your periods may be heavier or irregular, or you may not have any periods at all for several months or longer .

    What Are The Serious Complications Of Hyperthyroidism

    3 Easy Ways to Help Thyroid Work Correctly

    People with advanced and severe hyperthyroidism face a ramshackle of problems, some of them life-threatening. The good news is many patients do not reach this level of severity.

    Complications can include:

    • Graves ophthalmopathy, also known as thyroid eye disease . A new drug, teprotumumab , was approved by the FDA in 2020 to treat thyroid eye disease.
    • Irregular heartbeat, which can lead to stroke, heart failure, blood clots, and other heart problems
    • Thyroid storm
    • Pregnancy complications, including high blood pressure during pregnancy, miscarriage, low birth weight, and premature birth
    • Bone loss and osteoporosis

    The longer you have an overactive thyroid and go without treatment, the greater the risk of lifelong complications, even after treatment. As over 60% of people with thyroid disease go undiagnosed, its important to listen to your body before reversible symptoms like weight loss and insomnia progress to serious or life-threatening issues.

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    What Is The Outlook For Hyperthyroidism

    Hyperthyroidism is a manageable and treatable condition, and most people do well with treatment. While some forms of treatment require you to take medication for the rest of your life, your thyroid hormone levels will be normal.

    Unfortunately, untreated hyperthyroidism caused by Graves disease may get worse over time and cause complications. If you have Graves disease, ask your healthcare provider questions about how you can best manage your condition.

    How Long Does It Take To Treat Hyperthyroidism

    The amount of time it takes to treat hyperthyroidism can change depending on what caused it. If your healthcare provider treats your condition with antithyroid medications your hormone levels should drop to a healthy level in about six to 12 weeks.

    Your healthcare provider may decide to give you high doses of iodine drops , which would normalize thyroid levels in seven to 10 days. However, this is a short-term solution, and you’ll most likely need a more permanent solution like surgery. Though you may need to wait to be scheduled for thyroid surgery , this is a very effective and definitive way to treat hyperthyroidism. Its considered a permanent solution for hyperthyroidism.

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    What Is Hyperthyroidism

    Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid creates and releases more hormones than you need. This is also called overactive thyroid. The main hormones your thyroid makes include triiodothyronine and thyroxine .

    Hyperthyroidism can affect your entire body and is a condition that needs to be treated by a healthcare provider.

    Are There Any Side

    8 Signs of Thyroid Dysfunction You Ignore Every Day ...
  • Tablets very rarely these can suppress the production of white blood cells, making the individual more open to infections. If patients experience a sore throat, mouth ulcers or high temperature whilst on this treatment they should seek medical attention immediately . The tablets should be stopped until the result of the blood test is known. Although very rare, this complication can be fatal if the diagnosis is delayed. Individuals who are confirmed as having white cell suppression are admitted to hospital and intravenousantibiotics are given until the white cell count recovers.
  • Radioactive iodine this can cause permanent hypothyroidism requiring lifelong thyroid hormone replacement. Special precautions should be taken after radioiodinetreatment, such as limiting contact with young children and pregnant women for three weeks to avoid exposing them to radiation. This form of treatment should never be used for pregnant women. There is a risk that radioiodine treatment may worsen thyroid eye disease, so it is not given to patients with moderate to severe eye disease.
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    What Your Thyroid Does

    Two major hormones that affect how your body works are made in your thyroid. These are called thyroxine and triiodothyronine .

    Your thyroid controls things like how fast your heart beats and how quickly you burn calories. It releases hormones to control your metabolism .

    Another important hormone your thyroid makes is called parathyroid hormone. This helps keep a healthy amount of calcium in your blood.

    Hyperthyroidism, also known as overactive thyroid, can speed up your metabolism and cause unpleasant symptoms.

    Overview Of The Thyroid Gland

    , MD, MS, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

    The thyroid is a small gland, measuring about 2 inches across, that lies just under the skin below the Adams apple in the neck. The two halves of the gland are connected in the middle , giving the thyroid gland the shape of a bow tie. Normally, the thyroid gland cannot be seen and can barely be felt. If it becomes enlarged, doctors can feel it easily, and a prominent bulge may appear below or to the sides of the Adams apple.

    The thyroid gland secretes thyroid hormones, which control the speed at which the bodys chemical functions proceed . Thyroid hormones influence the metabolic rate in two ways:

    Thyroid hormones affect many vital body functions, such as the heart rate, the rate at which calories are burned, skin maintenance, growth, heat production, fertility, and digestion.

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    In People Without Known Thyroid Disease

    A high TSH in people who are not undergoing thyroid disease treatment usually indicates the presence of primary hypothyroidism.

    This is by far the most common form of hypothyroidism, and it occurs because the thyroid gland produces an inadequate amount of thyroid hormones. The pituitary gland senses these low levels and increases the production of TSH.

    An elevated TSH may also occur with normal thyroid function due to the presence of antibodies, proteins made by the immune system.

    How Are Thyroid Nodules Treated

    How Thyroid Medicine Works in the Body

    Treatment depends on the type of nodule or nodules that you have. Treatments include:

    • Watchful waiting. If your nodule is not cancerous, your doctor may decide to just watch your condition. You will get regular physical exams, blood tests, and perhaps thyroid ultrasound tests. If your nodule does not change, you may not need further treatment.
    • Surgery. Surgery may be necessary to take out nodules that may be cancerous or large nodules that cause problems breathing or swallowing.
    • Radioiodine. This type of treatment is helpful if you have nodules that make too much thyroid hormone. Radioiodine causes nodules to shrink and make smaller amounts of thyroid hormone.

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    Treatment And Medication For Hyperthyroidism

    An overactive thyroid gland is more difficult to control than an underactive one. With the latter, treatment usually involves taking hormones to make up for the missing amounts. But it can be more challenging to stop the thyroid gland from making too much hormone, as seen in hyperthyroidism.

    Your overall treatment plan may depend on your age and the severity of your condition. The following treatments are effective for hyperthyroidism.

    Can I Develop Hyperthyroidism During Pregnancy

    During early pregnancy, your body needs to produce more thyroid hormones than normal to help the baby develop. These hormones are particularly important for your babys brain and nervous system. Having thyroid hormone levels that are a little higher than normal is alright, but if your levels increase dramatically, your healthcare provider may need to form a treatment plan. High levels of thyroid hormones can impact not only you but also your baby.

    It can be difficult to diagnose hyperthyroidism during pregnancy because your thyroid hormone levels naturally increase and the other symptoms of pregnancy mask signs of hyperthyroidism.

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    Whats The Difference Between Hyperthyroidism And Hypothyroidism

    On the other hand, hyperthyroidism can be a bit more challenging to control and treat you may end up developing hypothyroidism after treatment. Once your doctor has diagnosed hyperthyroidism though, you can be on your way to recovery.

    Learn More About the Difference Between Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism

    How Is Thyroid Cancer Treated

    Thyroid (Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism)

    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.

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    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.9

    Thyroid cancer is more common in women who:10

    • 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 goiter
    • Have a family history of thyroid cancer

    What Do Borderline Positive Tpo Antibodies Mean

    You get your thyroid test results back, and your thyroid peroxidase antibodies are borderline positive. Now you wondering, what does this mean?

    Approximately 20 million people in the United States have some form of thyroid diseaseâincluding hypothyroidism . Often, people with thyroid disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed because symptoms can be unspecific and develop gradually.

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    Your Muscles Feel Weak

    Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause muscles to feel achy, weak, or stiff, according to Rodriguez. But, because thyroid symptoms often develop slowly, many people donât notice the muscle aches or weakness right away, or brush it off as typical pain that comes from aging. Check in with your doctor if something feels off.

    Rationale For Screening And Treatment

    How a thyroid gland can become underactive

    Subclinical Hypothyroidism

    Although there is wide agreement that the long-term benefits of early treatment of subclinical thyroid dysfunction have not been proven, there is disagreement about what to do until better evidence is available. This disagreement reflects differing views of the clinical relevance of research about the complications of subclinical thyroid dysfunction.

    Proponents argue that thyroid dysfunction is common and associated with significant morbidity. Additionally, a serum TSH test is relatively inexpensive, accurate, readily available, and generally a very acceptable test for patients to undergo.,Symptoms of overt thyroid dysfunction also can be vague and at times difficult to diagnose, and therefore, thyroid screening may allow the diagnosis of overt disease earlier in the clinical course, thus reducing morbidity.,, For subclinical hypothyroidism, treatment with levothyroxine is noninvasive and inexpensive. Finally, proponents argue that the potential harms of screening are small in relation to the potential benefits: Because the potential harm of early detection and treatment appear to be so minor and preventable, it seems prudent to err on the side of early detection and treatment until there is sufficient data to address these issues definitively.

    Subclinical Hyperthyroidism

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    What Are The Longer

    The long-term implications of hyperthyroidism depend on the treatment option used. Patients taking carbimazole tablets will likely need to take them daily for life. Blood tests should be carried out regularly to monitor thyroid hormone levels and to adjust the dose of carbimazole accordingly. The majority of patients are able to find a medication regime that works for them and go on to live full, active lives.

    If untreated, besides feeling poorly and unwell, the patient is also at risk of heart dysfunction or failure due to the increased heart rate and raised metabolic state. This irregular heart rate can result in strokes and dizziness. An overactive thyroid can also affect the patients bones and cause osteoporosis, which results in weak bones that are more likely to fracture.


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