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What are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism due to any cause 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, anxiety
  • Rapid heart rate, palpitations, irregular heart rate
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue, weakness
  • Decreased concentration
  • Irregular and scant menstrual flow
  • Fine or brittle hair
  • Thinning skin
  • Sleep disturbances

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 result.

Return to Hyperthyroidism

See what others are saying

Comment from: Jen, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: December 06

I just found out I'm pregnant and I have a hyperthyroidism. My symptoms might be different. I feel terrible. I can't concentrate, and when I talk to people I speed up my conversation and talk like I have attention deficit disorder. I sweat, I'm hot, my heart feels like it will jump out of my chest, I can't get a restful sleep, I always have a mild headache, my hands shake, and my legs have tremor when I sit a certain way. I am so sad all the time, and I cry way too easily about every little thing. I'm worried and I'm not focused. I feel hyper, but at the same time I feel exhausted.

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Comment from: Misha, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: September 28

I've felt lightheaded, dizzy, out of breath and I've had rapid resting heart rate for months. Initially I thought I was hypoglycemic or really out of breath. However, just a few weeks ago my condition worsened and I suddenly became extremely anxious and depressed (so much so that suicide has crossed my mind few times). I also started experiencing panic attacks, couldn't sleep, started having heart palpitations, I have to go to the bathroom all the time, I have no energy, I'm constantly out of breath, my legs and arms feel like Jell-O, my hair is falling out, and I've developed eczema; basically, if there is a hyperthyroid symptom, I have it. It's been such a difficult journey because I'm normally a very happy, outgoing and determined person. I feel like I'm not myself anymore. I'm a graduate student and it's so hard to explain to my professors that what I'm suffering from is not regular anxiety but is actually caused by a physical medical condition. The hardest part however is trying to do things that normally make me very happy like hanging out with friends, teaching or analyzing literature and just feeling nothing. No happiness, just a constant feeling of hopelessness. This condition is ruining my life. I even had to quit my job as a teaching assistant (which I adored) because I would get panic attacks in the middle of class or need to throw up. If it wasn't for my loving boyfriend's support I don't know if I could keep going. I still have more tests to do before I can start my treatment (whether it be taking pills or getting radiation therapy).

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Comment from: loops, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: July 15

I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism a year ago, it hasn't been an easy year, been really tough. My emotions are all over the place and I can barely keep them under control. I have crazy mood swings. I'm tired all the time, I oversleep a lot, I just can't find the energy to get up in the mornings no matter how hard I try, and it is more difficult being a mother to a 2 year old. My body hurts more than ever. I can barely close my hands in the mornings, they feel so weak I don't have the strength. My heart races so much I can't get my own heart to slow down. I can walk around and do simple things and my heart feels like I just ran a marathon. I hate having the feeling that now my wellbeing and my heart rely on medicine. I feel like I can't live without it. I want to feel normal again. I miss what my life used to be like before all of this started. I get overwhelmed with this situation and I don't know what to do anymore. It feels like no matter who I talk to they just don't understand although they say they do. It feels like I'm about to lose my relationship because he doesn't understand my situation or the way I feel. Everybody tells me to tough it out but it's difficult. Easy for them to say when they don't know what I'm feeling. I'm getting tired of living this way. I'm really thinking about surgery, but I'm not so sure if that will fix anything. I just want to be a healthy mother for my son.

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