Hyperthyroidism - Symptoms

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What are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism is suggested by several signs and symptoms; however, patients with mild disease usually experience no symptoms. In patients older than 70 years, the typical signs and symptoms also may be absent. In general, the symptoms become more obvious as the degree of hyperthyroidism increases. The symptoms usually are related to an increase in the metabolic rate of the body.

Common symptoms include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Heat intolerance
  • Increased bowel movements
  • Tremor (usually fine shaking)
  • Nervousness; agitation
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased concentration
  • Irregular and scant menstrual flow

In older patients, irregular heart rhythms and heart failure can occur. In its most severe form, untreated hyperthyroidism may result in "thyroid storm," a condition involving high blood pressure, fever, and heart failure. Mental changes, such as confusion and delirium, also may occur.

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Comment from: Maggie, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: February 02

I am 27 and this all started a couple of years ago. I had a checkup (no tests done, no health insurance and we are poor) and the doctor strongly advised I get help soon because she said hyperthyroidism looked to be the problem. I have always had insomnia and trouble staying asleep. High anxiety, high blood pressure, very irritable, no appetite, nausea, always sweaty hands, itching, using the bathroom a ton, hair falling out, tremors, joint pain, lost 50 lb. very fast, headaches, super bad memory, and very emotional. I hate being alive.

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Comment from: Danna, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 21

It took 2 years to get the correct diagnosis of hyperthyroidism. I suffered terribly before finding out what was wrong. I couldn't sleep, because I had hot flashes that were so hot, I thought I was in an oven at 750 degrees. I slept 3 or 4 hours a night for 2 years before I got on medicine. In those 2 years I had such extreme foot/ankle/calf pain. I couldn't get out of the bed in the morning without holding onto the dresser for support. Finally, when I just started falling asleep at work I switched doctors and found out I had hyperthyroid, Graves' disease. My first doctor kept telling me it was menopause. She prescribed antidepressants which I refused to take. I knew I was really sick, but I think she just didn't get it. I became very foggy in the brain, had memory loss and confusion. It felt like my brain was swimming along the bottom of a murky lake. At the same time, I became very obsessive. I just kept talking about the same thing over and over, and I ran my charge card up to the moon. I was obsessive in buying things. It took over a year to lose the obsessiveness after getting the correct medicine, methimazole. My feet and ankles would blow up too, they looked like Herman Munster feet. Other times they would just get swollen. I had to stop working, because I couldn't function anymore. Now I am on medicine for 2 years. I've developed double vision. I switched doctors again. I am grateful to the family doctor who figured out what was wrong, but I am now seeing a thyroid specialist. I may be going for surgery. Will see. As of now, I have mood swings, get depressed because I do not feel well. I still hurt all over, but not as bad. I'm tired and have no energy. My hair is falling out. And I have horrible anxiety. And I can't lose the 55 lb. that I gained. I never was sick. So having this is very depressing. I just wish I could be normal again and not feel so terrible all the time.

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