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Hyperthyroidism: Symptoms and causes

Hyperthyroidism

Introduction

The thyroid, a small butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck, plays a crucial role in regulating various bodily functions. When this gland becomes overactive, it leads to a condition known as hyperthyroidism. This disorder can significantly impact your health and well-being.

Understanding Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4), and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones influence metabolism, heart rate, and energy production, among other vital functions. An overproduction of these hormones can lead to a variety of symptoms and health issues.

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

1. Unexplained Weight Loss:

It can cause an accelerated metabolism, leading to unintended weight loss despite an increased appetite.

2. Increased Heart Rate and Palpitations:

Elevated levels of thyroid hormones can stimulate the heart, causing palpitations, increased heart rate, and even irregular heart rhythms.

3. Nervousness and Anxiety:

The overstimulation of the nervous system can result in feelings of nervousness, anxiety, and restlessness.

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4. Heat Sensitivity:

Individuals with hyperthyroidism may experience an increased sensitivity to heat, leading to excessive sweating and discomfort.

5. Tremors and Shaky Hands

Fine tremors, particularly in the hands and fingers, can be a noticeable symptom of an overactive thyroid.

6. Changes in Bowel Habits:

Digestive issues, such as diarrhoea and frequent bowel movements, may occur due to the increased metabolic activity.

7. Fatigue and Weakness:

Paradoxically, despite an accelerated metabolism, individuals with hyperthyroidism may feel fatigued and weak due to the strain on the body.

8. Sleep Disturbances:

Insomnia and difficulty sleeping are common symptoms associated with an overactive thyroid.

Causes of Hyperthyroidism:

1. Graves’ Disease:

Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland, leading to excessive hormone production.

2. Toxic Nodules:

Nodules or lumps in the thyroid gland can become “hot” or overactive, producing thyroid hormones independently of the body’s needs.

3. Thyroiditis:

Inflammation of the thyroid, whether caused by a viral infection or an autoimmune condition, can lead to the release of stored hormones, causing hyperthyroidism.

4. Excessive Iodine Intake:

Consuming too much iodine, either through diet or medications, can trigger hyperthyroidism.

5. Thyroid Medications:

Certain medications, such as those containing excessive amounts of thyroid hormones, can lead to an overactive thyroid.

Conclusion:

Recognizing the symptoms of hyperthyroidism is crucial for early detection and effective management of this condition. If you suspect you may be experiencing symptoms of an overactive thyroid, consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and personalized treatment. By understanding the symptoms and causes of hyperthyroidism, individuals can take proactive steps towards maintaining thyroid health and overall well-being.

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Disclaimer: Health articles on medical conditions are for information only and do not form a basis for diagnosis. We recommend that if you have any concerns, speak to your doctor or pharmacist for further help and guidance.

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