What is Hyperthyroidism?
The thyroid is a gland that is responsible for producing hormones in the human body. When the thyroid fails to produce enough hormones, it’s called hyperthyroidism, or underactive thyroid.
Hyperthyroidism often goes undetected in the early stages because it has little to no symptoms initially. Untreated hyperthyroidism can be a cause of major health issues, including obesity, infertility, pain in joints, heart problems, etc.
Hyperthyroidism can be diagnosed through a tests called Accurate Thyroid Function Test. It’s treated easily and the treatment is also safe.
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
As mentioned above, hyperthyroidism often presents no symptoms in the initial stages, but as it slowly progresses, the symptoms start showing up as well. The following are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism:
- Difficulty breathing
- Umbilical hernia
- Hoarse crying
In Kids and Teens
- Slow development of teeth
- Slow growth
- Short Height and build
- Delayed puberty
- Affected mental development
Alt-text: Examination of a kid’s throat
- Weight gain
- Dry skin
- Increased sensitivity to low temperatures
- Puffed-up face
- High cholesterol
- Muscle aches
- Pain in joints
- Heavy and irregular menstrual periods
- Slow heart rate
- Hair loss or thinning
- Enlargement of the thyroid gland
Filename: Hair loss
Alt-text: A man losing hair
Causes of Hyperthyroidism
The equilibrium between chemical reactions in the body can be disturbed if your thyroid does not produce enough hormones.
Removal of a large part or all of the thyroid due to any reason results in hyperthyroidism, and the person will have to take thyroid medication all their life.
Alt-text: Thyroid surgery
People who produce too many hormones are given radioactive iodine medications to lower their hormone levels, but sometimes, the reaction to these medications might be so significant that the hormone levels drop lower than the ideal one, which results in permanent hyperthyroidism.
One of the most common causes of hyperthyroidism is autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases are the situation in which your immune systems attack your own body tissues. This process can include the thyroid gland.
There is reasoning found for these autoimmune disorders as of yet, and scientists believe it’s genetic and due to environmental factors acting as triggers.
Anyway, the immune system makes antibodies to attack the thyroid tissue and results in hyperthyroidism.
Radiation therapy typically used to treat cancers in the neck or head can have an effect on the thyroid gland and stop it from functioning normally.
Certain medications can also affect the thyroid gland. Consult your doctors before taking any medication.
Alt-text: Different type of medicines
Some less common causes of hyperthyroidism include:
One rare cause of hyperthyroidism can be pituitary disorder, where the pituitary gland fails to create the required amount of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSM).
Some newborns are born with a thyroid gland that isn’t working or with no thyroid gland at all. The thyroid gland did not develop correctly in the majority of instances for reasons unknown, however, some infants have an inherited type of the disease. Congenital hypothyroidism causes newborns to seem normal at birth.
Iodine is critical in the formation of thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism can be caused by a lack of iodine, and it can be worsened by too much iodine in individuals who already have it.
During or after pregnancy, some women develop postpartum hypothyroidism, which is caused by their immune systems creating antibodies towards their own thyroid gland. Postpartum hyperthyroidism is dangerous if left untreated, as it increases the risk of birth defects, miscarriages, premature delivery, and more.
Risk Factors of Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism, if left untreated, can be a cause of several problems. Some of them include:
Hyperthyroidism reportedly increases the risk of heart diseases, as it increases the cholesterol levels in the blood.
Low hormone levels can affect ovulation, which in turn affects fertility.
Mental Health Problems
Depression is reportedly associated with hyperthyroidism and worsens with time if left untreated.
A mother who gives birth to babies while having Hyperthyroidism might risk complications in their infants. These risks include development issues and mental problems for the child.
If you suffer from any of the symptoms above or notice them, it’s best that you consult a doctor without any delay. Hyperthyroidism can pose serious dangers if not treated in time. TelMDCare offers an online healthcare service with licensed online doctors. We offer consultation for multiple health problems, including hyperthyroidism. Our doctor will diagnose you or guide you on what further steps need to be taken.
Contact us now or book an appointment.
About the Author
Dr. Steve White is an endocrinologist who has been practicing in his field for the past 35 years. He has been associated with TelMDCare for the last 7 years and is now offering online consultations for the convenience of thousands of his patients. Dr. White believes online consultation can help him reach even more people, especially the ones from remote areas who can’t visit him physically.