The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck that produces and releases two hormones: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4).
These hormones play a crucial role in several important bodily functions, such as maintaining:
- Body temperature
- Heart rate
What is thyroid storm vs thyrotoxicosis?
A thyroid storm or crisis is a rare endocrine emergency that represents the extreme manifestation of thyrotoxicosis (severe thyrotoxicosis).
- Although Graves’ disease is the most common underlying disorder in thyroid storms, presentation is usually triggered by a precipitating event, such as an acute infection, trauma, or a surgical procedure.
- A thyroid storm is a life-threatening complication of hyperthyroidism in which the thyroid suddenly produces and releases a large amount of thyroid hormone in a short amount of time.
Thyrotoxicosis is a rare treatable condition that occurs due to excess thyroid hormone in the body that could be due to hyperthyroidism (production and release of excess thyroid hormones) and excess consumption of thyroid medications.
- The likelihood of thyrotoxicosis increases as age progresses.
- Females are more commonly affected by thyrotoxicosis than males.
What are the symptoms of thyroid storm vs thyrotoxicosis?
This condition is rare, can be life-threatening, and requires immediate medical attention.
Symptoms of thyroid storm (severe thyrotoxicosis) include:
- Very rapid heartbeat
- High fever
- Loss of consciousness
Common symptoms of mild and moderate thyrotoxicosis include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
- An irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
- Muscle weakness
- Nervous, anxious, or irritable
- Increased sensitivity to heat
- Changes in menstruation
How are thyroid storm and thyrotoxicosis treated?
Treatment of thyroid storm involves:
- Decreasing new hormone synthesis
- Inhibiting the release of thyroid hormone
- Blocking the peripheral effects of thyroid hormone
- The multidrug, therapeutic approach includes thionamides, iodine, beta-adrenergic receptor antagonists, corticosteroids in certain circumstances, and supportive therapy
- Certain cases may warrant the use of additional therapy with cholestyramine, lithium carbonate, or potassium perchlorate
Treatment for thyrotoxicosis depends on the cause and the options may include:
- Antithyroid drugs: Tapazole (methimazole) and propylthiouracil.
- Radioactive iodine: Oral intake of radioactive iodine makes the overactive thyroid cells absorb the iodine which damages the cells causing the shrinkage of the thyroid gland.
- Surgery: Removal of the thyroid gland (thyroidectomy).
- Beta-blockers: Regulate the heartbeat.
- Glucocorticoids: A type of corticosteroid prescribed to treat thyroiditis.
Key differences between thyroid storm and thyrotoxicosis
|Causes||A complication of thyrotoxicosis of any etiology precipitated by stress, infections, surgery, trauma, or heart attack||
|Medical emergency||Always yes||Not necessarily|
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Cleveland Clinic. Thyrotoxicosis. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21741-thyrotoxicosis
Carroll R, Matfin G. Endocrine and metabolic emergencies: thyroid storm. Ther Adv Endocrinol Metab. 2010;1(3):139-145. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3475282/
Misra M. Thyroid Storm. Medscape. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/925147-overview#a1
Top Thyroid Storm vs Thyrotoxicosis: Differences Related Articles
Fine-Needle Aspiration Biopsy of the ThyroidFine-needle aspiration biopsy of the thyroid is used to obtain tissue for analysis. Fine-needle aspiration is also performed to treat thyroid cysts. The fine-needle aspiration biopsy procedure may be recommended to make the diagnosis and/or select therapy of a thyroid nodule. Fine needle aspiration biopsy may also be recommended to drain or shrink a thyroid cyst.
Hyperthyroidism is an excess of thyroid hormone due to an overactive thyroid gland. Symptoms can include increased heart rate, weight loss, heart palpitations, frequent bowel movements, depression, fatigue, fine or brittle hair, sleep problems, thinning skin, and irregular vaginal bleeding.
Graves' disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Many other health problems or taking excess thyroid hormone medication can cause an overactive thyroid gland. Treatment for the condition is with medication, radioactive iodine, thyroid surgery (rarely), or reducing the dose of thyroid hormone. No diet has been shown to treat hyperthyroidism or its symptoms and signs.
Hyperthyroidism: Symptoms, Treatment, MedicationWhat are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism? What causes hyperthyroidism? What happens when you take thyroid medication? Hyperthyroidism occurs when an overactive thyroid gland produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormone. Learn hyperthyroidism causes, symptoms, and treatment.
Parathyroidectomy SurgeryParathyroidectomy is the removal of one or more of the parathyroid glands to treat hyperparathyroidism. Risks of parathyroidectomy include:
- paralysis of the vocal cords,
- difficulty swallowing thin liquids,
- difficulty breathing,
- and drug reactions.
- damage to the recurrent laryngeal nerve,
- bleeding or hematoma,
- problems maintaining calcium levels in the blood,
- need for further and more aggressive surgery,
- need for a limited or total thyroidectomy,
- prolonged pain,
- impaired healing,
- and recurrence of the tumor.
Thyroid Blood Tests
Thyroid blood tests determine the adequacy of the levels of thyroid hormones in in a patient. The blood tests can determine if the thyroid gland's hormone production is normal, overactive, or underactive. The level of thyroid hormones may help to diagnose hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. The test may also point to other diseases of conditions of the thyroid gland.
Thyroid Disorders Symptoms and SignsThyroid diseases and disorders are caused because the body either makes too much or too little thyroid hormones, which are necessary for vital functions of the body.
Thyroid disease and disorder symptoms and signs depend on the type of the thyroid problem. Examples include heat or cold intolerance, sweating, weight loss or gain, palpitations, fatigue, dry skin, constipation, brittle hair, joint aches and pains, heart palpitations, edema, feeling bloated, puffiness in the face, reduced menstrual flow, changes in the frequency of bowel movements and habits, high cholesterol, hoarseness, brittle hair, difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, a visible lump or swelling in the neck, tremors, memory problems, depression, nervousness, agitation, irritability, or poor concentration.
Thyroid problems are more common in women.
Thyroid DisordersThere are several types of thyroid disorders including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, goiters, thyroid nodules, and thyroid cancer. Symptoms vary by condition. Diagnosis is made with blood tests, scans, ultrasound, or biopsy. Treatments depend on the disorder and can include medication or surgery.
Thyroid NodulesThyroid nodules are the most common endocrine problem in the United States. The term thyroid nodule refers to any abnormal growth that forms a lump in the thyroid gland. The vast majority of thyroid nodules are benign.
Thyroid Peroxidase TestThe thyroid peroxidase test measures the level of an antibody that is directed against thyroid peroxidase (TPO). The presence of TPOAb in the blood reflects a prior attack by the body's immune system on thyroid tissue. A positive thyroid peroxidase test may signal chronic thyroiditis. Other autoimmune disorders, however, may have a positive TPOAb test.
Illustrations of ThyroidThe thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck just below the Adams apple. See a picture of the Thyroid and learn more about the health topic.
Thyroid QuizYour unexplained change in weight could indicate a thyroid condition. Take the Thyroid Quiz to learn about common symptoms and treatments of overactive and underactive thyroid disorders.
Cancer: Visual Guide to Thyroid CancerFind out the symptoms of thyroid cancer, and learn how to treat it after you get a diagnosis.
What Are the Types of Thyroidectomy?Thyroidectomy, a surgical procedure to remove the thyroid gland, is divided into three types: total, partial, or completion thyroidectomy.
What Causes Thyroid Eye?Thyroid eye disease (also called Grave’s orbitopathy or Grave’s ophthalmopathy) is an autoimmune condition where the immune cells attack the tissues around the eyes. It causes inflammation of the eye muscles or fat.