Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid produces too much hormone. Some of the symptoms of this condition include: fast heart rate, weight loss, irregular periods in women, frequent bowel movements and shortness of breath. People who have an overactive thyroid may also develop a goiter, which is an enlargement of the thyroid gland. If left untreated, hyperthyroidism can do serious damage to the heart and cause a person to go into cardiac arrest. The type of treatment that the doctor prescribes to treat this condition is contingent on many factors. Some of the most common treatments include: antithyroid medications, beta blockers, radioactive iodine and surgery. Antithyroid medications help block the overproduction of hormones. Most patients respond to this medication within a few months are able to get off of it within two years. Patients who suffer from tachycardia, which is a fast heartbeat, due to this condition may also be prescribed beta blockers. Beta blockers are drugs that slow down heart rate by reducing cardiac output (the amount of blood that the heart pumps).
Some patients do not respond to antithyroid medications, so the next choice is radioactive iodine. Radioactive iodine is an oral medication that cures hyperthyroidism by destroying the thyroid gland. Many doctors think that this an excellent choice because there are very few side effects associated with it. However, patients who take radioactive iodine will have to take hormone replacements. Surgery that removes all or part of the thyroid is another safe and effective treatment for hyperthyroidism. It is generally regarded as a safe procedure, but it does not come without risks. Patients who have all or part of their thyroids removed may suffer permanent damage to their vocal chords or parathyroid glands. Patients who have surgery to remove their thyroid will also have to take hormone replacements.