Overactive Thyroid | Hyperthyroidism
An overactive thyroid disorder is caused when your thyroid makes and releases too many thyroid hormones into the body. Located at the front of your neck, the thyroid is crucial in the process of metabolism, which controls your heartbeat and even how fast you burn calories. It is estimated that women are five to ten times more likely to develop hyperthyroidism than men.
Causes of Overactive Thyroid
The most common cause of this hyperthyroid condition is Graves’ Disease, which occurs when the body’s immune system creates antibodies that cause the thyroid to make excessive hormones. It is a genetic condition and is most common in younger women.
Thyroiditis is another common cause of this condition, which occurs when there is an inflammation of the thyroid caused by a virus. There are three types of this condition which are as follows:
- Subacute- a sudden and painful form with no known cause
- Postpartum- impacts women after pregnancy
- Silent- which is postpartum but not related to pregnancy.
A third cause is a thyroid nodule, which is when one or more lumps growing on the thyroid gland, cause an increase in the glands production.
Lastly, excessive iodine and thyroid medications are also causes of the condition.
Symptoms of Overactive Thyroid
Symptoms of an overactive thyroid can include anxiety, difficulty sleeping, changes to the hair, irregular heartbeat, menstrual cycle changes, rapid fingernail growth, a heartbeat over 100 beats per minute, shaky hands, weight loss and sweating.
Treatment of Overactive Thyroid
An overactive thyroid can be treated in multiple ways depending on your age, overall health and how severe the symptoms are. Treatments can include anti-thyroid drugs, the use of radioactive iodine, and even surgery that removes some, or all, of the thyroid. Having thyroid surgery usually results in an underactive thyroid, which then requires thyroid medication. Beta blockers can also be used to slow down the heart rate if you have an overactive thyroid.
After you are treated for an overactive thyroid, you will need to go for regular blood tests to make sure that your thyroid is releasing hormones at a normal level. Depending on the level of thyroid hormones, you will have to have your medication adjusted based on your doctor’s recommendation.