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Hyperthyroidism definition and 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 from the pituitary gland, which is in turn regulated by the hypthalamus.
  • There are many possible causes of hyperthyroidism.
  • Graves' disease, the most common cause of hyperthyroidism, can be associated with eye disease (Graves' opthalmopathy).
  • Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include
    • restlessness,
    • agitation,
    • anxiety,
    • tremors,
    • weight loss despite an increased appetite,
    • sweating,
    • rapid heart rate,
    • intolerance to heat, and
    • frequent bowel movements.
  • Treatments for hyperthyroidism include antithyroid medications, radioactive ablation, and surgery.
Return to Hyperthyroidism

See what others are saying

Comment from: Dalton2011, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 06

I am pretty sure I was sick for more than 2 years before diagnosis of hyperthyroidism. I had been diagnosed with anxiety, menopause and hypertension over the past 3 years. Last year I was diagnosed and things began to make sense, the dizziness (had to stop driving), pounding heart, aching feet (to the point where I couldn't walk properly after rising or sitting), headaches every day, and massive weight loss (down to 55 kg from 65) were attributed to hyperthyroidism. I was medicated for up to 12 months (carbimazole) and things started to improve. Now nearly a year later the symptoms are slowly returning. I don't think people understand how debilitating hyperthyroidism is.

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Comment from: kellybee, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: August 08

I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism at the beginning of July. I was in so much joint pain. I had been visiting doctors that said it was my chest. I woke up one day and could not walk because my legs were really painful after the numb feeling. I was admitted to hospital and saw a specialist that told me about the thyroid for the first time. I was then admitted to High Care Unit for thyroid crisis for 3 days. Graves' disease is the most painful disease I am yet to experience. I am on heart medication and also high blood medication. I was on methimazole for 1 week and off the medication for 7 days. Yesterday I took the radioactive iodine pill and have not seen any changes in my body. I feel so much better now but the doctor explained that I have to do this treatment to kill the thyroid then they can replace them. I am in Johannesburg and happy to say the 2 doctors that are treating me now are the best.

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