5 Common Causes of Hyperthyroidism: How To Manage?
Hyperthyroidism is a medical condition occurring due to excessive amounts of thyroxine in the body. It's one of the most common endocrine disorders and can significantly affect your quality of life. You may experience fatigue, weight loss, heart palpitations, and anxiety with hyperthyroidism.
If left untreated, hyperthyroidism can lead to serious long-term complications such as osteoporosis, weakness or paralysis in muscles, impaired speech and thinking abilities, and an increased risk of stroke or heart attack. Fortunately, there are many ways to manage this disease. But let's first understand the basics:
What Does Your Thyroid Do?
Your thyroid produces two primary hormones that influence how your body functions. These are thyroxine (T-4) and triiodothyronine (T-3). These hormones control your metabolic rate and heart rate.
5 Common Causes Of Hyperthyroidism
Here are five common causes of hyperthyroidism and how to manage the condition.
1. Hyperthyroidism due to Graves' Disease
Graves' disease is directly linked to causing hyperthyroidism and occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland. While the precise cause of this condition isn't known, one theory is that a viral infection may trigger an autoimmune response that disrupts thyroid hormone production. According to the American Thyroid Association, Graves' disease affects about 1 in every 200 people, and it's more common in women than in men.
If you have hyperthyroidism due to Graves' disease, your doctor may prescribe antithyroid drugs to reduce your thyroid hormone production. However, these medications risk serious side effects such as low blood pressure, muscle weakness, fatigue, anxiety, and abnormal heart rhythms. Surgery to remove the thyroid gland is another option, but it carries its risks and isn't recommended for everyone.
2. Hyperthyroidism due to Thyroiditis
Thyroiditis is an inflammatory condition known as Hashimoto's Thyroiditis; in this condition, your immune system attacks the thyroid's cells and triggers their death. As a result, your thyroid gland can't produce enough of the hormones that regulate your metabolism, blood pressure, and heart rate.
Thyroiditis can also be caused by the following factors:
- Following pregnancy
- When you contract a virus or have another issue with your immune system
- If you take an excessive amount of thyroid medication
Hyperthyroidism due to Thyroiditis is a rare condition that occurs in approximately 1 in every 50 cases of hyperthyroidism. Fortunately, it's a temporary disorder that usually disappears within six months of the onset of symptoms. However, hyperthyroidism due to Thyroiditis can linger or become permanent in some cases. Treatment for this condition varies; your doctor may prescribe drugs such as beta-blockers or anti-inflammatory agents to manage the symptoms.
3. Hyperthyroidism due to TSH receptor antibodies
TSH receptor antibodies are proteins that develop when the immune system mistakenly attacks cells in the thyroid gland. These antibodies are the leading cause of hyperthyroidism in people older than 60, diagnosed in nearly 90 percent of these cases. These antibodies have several subtypes, which can be genetic or acquired. Acquired TSH receptor antibodies are related to an autoimmune condition like Graves' disease or Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. Genetic TSH receptor antibodies are a rare form of hyperthyroidism passed down through the family.
There are several treatment options if you have hyperthyroidism due to TSH receptor antibodies. Medications such as carbimazole and propylthiouracil can reduce your thyroid hormone levels and reverse the condition. In most cases, surgery is recommended to remove your thyroid gland.
4. Hyperthyroidism due to Excessive Iodine Exposure
Excessive iodine exposure can trigger hyperthyroidism in people with an underlying autoimmune condition. Hyperthyroidism due to excessive iodine exposure is usually temporary and goes away once you lower your iodine intake.
However, it's important to note that some medications, such as amiodarone, lithium, and beta blockers, can interact with iodine and increase the risk of hyperthyroidism. If you notice hyperthyroidism symptoms and have recently taken a new medication, ask your doctor if it contains iodine.
5. Hyperthyroidism due to Other Causes
Many factors can lead to hyperthyroidism, including certain infections, genetic disorders, overuse of certain medications, radiation exposure, and certain nutritional deficiencies. If you suspect you have hyperthyroidism, you must see your doctor. They can perform a blood test to determine if you have the condition.
- Increase heart rate
- Weight loss,
- Irregular periods in women,
- Frequent bowel movements and shortness of breath.
- Temperature sensitivity
- Brittle hair
- Swelling in neck
- People with an overactive thyroid may also develop goiter, an enlargement of the thyroid gland.
- Hyperthyroidism can lead to cardiac arrest and other life-threatening complications if it is not treated.
Diagnosis of Hyperthyroidism
Your doctor will inquire about your medical history and examine you for symptoms such as a swollen thyroid, a fast pulse, moist skin, and shaking in your hands or fingers. They will administer tests such as:
Thyroid examination. This blood test measures thyroid hormone and thyroid-stimulating hormone levels (TSH).
Ultrasound. A technician places a transducer around your neck. It creates images of your thyroid using sound waves.
Test for radioactive iodine uptake. You take a small dose of radioactive iodine. A gamma probe is a device that measures how much iodine accumulates in your thyroid. If this uptake is elevated, you most likely have Graves' disease or thyroid nodules.
Blood test: The levels of T3 and T4 are checked through a simple CBC (complete blood count) test. The report is generated in 24 hours.
Managing Hyperthyroidism and Its Symptoms
If you have hyperthyroidism, you may be able to manage the symptoms with medications or lifestyle changes.
Medications: - Antithyroid drugs (ATDs) are the most common treatment for hyperthyroidism. These medications reduce thyroid hormone production and can slow down or reverse the condition.
- Beta-blockers are drugs that can help lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
- Calcium and vitamin D supplements: to help prevent osteoporosis.
- Diet: A gluten-free diet may help with specific digestive issues. A healthy diet low in sodium and rich in fresh fruits and vegetables can help keep your energy levels where they should be.
- Physical activity: to help improve your overall health.
Most patients respond to this medication within a few months and can get off it within two years. Due to this condition, patients who suffer from tachycardia, which is a fast heartbeat, may also be prescribed beta blockers. Cardiovascular output can be decreased with the help of beta-blockers, medications used to reduce the heart rate (the amount of blood 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 this is an excellent choice because it has very few side effects. However, patients who take radioactive iodine will have to take hormone replacements.
Surgery to remove the thyroid is a safe and effective treatment for hyperthyroidism. However, there are certain risks. Patients who remove their thyroids may suffer permanent damage to their vocal cords or parathyroid glands. Patients with surgery to remove their thyroid will also have to take hormone replacements.
Hyperthyroidism is a common condition that can cause significant symptoms. Fortunately, most cases of hyperthyroidism are easily treated, and most people recover completely. Physicians may offer several treatment options for hyperthyroidism, including medications, radiofrequency ablation, or thyroid surgery. While hyperthyroidism can be a severe condition, it can usually be managed with the help of a doctor. With the right treatments, most people can live healthy and productive lives while handling their disease.From the Web