Hyperthyroidism

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Hyperthyroidism facts

  • Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which there is an excessive amount of thyroid hormones.
  • Thyroid hormones regulate the metabolism of the cells.
  • Normally, the rate of thyroid hormone production is controlled by the brain at the pituitary gland.
  • There are many possible causes of hyperthyroidism.
  • Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include restlessness, tremors, weight loss despite an increased appetite, sweating, rapid heart rate, intolerance to heat, and frequent bowel movements.
  • Treatments for hyperthyroidism include medications, ablation, and surgery.

What is hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which an overactive thyroid gland is producing an excessive amount of thyroid hormones that circulate in the blood. ("Hyper" means "over" in Greek). Thyrotoxicosis is a toxic condition that is caused by an excess of thyroid hormones from any cause. Thyrotoxicosis can be caused by an excessive intake of thyroid hormone or by overproduction of thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland. Because both physicians and patients often use these words interchangeably, we will take some liberty by using the term "hyperthyroidism" throughout this article.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/8/2014

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Thyroid storm is a medical emergency for a patient with hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism Doctor to Patient

Thyroid Storm: An Emergency of the Thyroid

There are really not many emergencies that we need to worry about regarding the thyroid gland - but thyroid storm is one of the rare exceptions.

Thyroid storm is a crisis or life-threatening condition characterized by an exaggeration of the usual physiologic response seen in hyperthyroidism. Whereas hyperthyroidism can cause symptoms such as sweating, feeling hot, palpitationsand weight loss - symptoms of thyroid storm are more severe, resulting in complications such as:

  • fever
  • rapid heart rate
  • nausea/vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • irregular heart beat
  • weakness
  • heart failure
  • confusion/disorientation