Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid, is a condition where a gland in the neck (thyroid) overproduces a hormone. It is a treatable condition that requires a medical diagnosis. This diagnosis will include certain lab tests or imaging, in order to ensure the right diagnosis is given.
Some of the most common symptoms of an overactive thyroid include rapid heartbeat, sweating, irritability, and unexpected weight loss. You may also experience nervousness, tremors, sensitivity to heat, fatigue, muscle weakness, increased appetite, or difficulty sleeping.
Diagnosis will begin with a medical history and a physical exam. Your physician will then do a blood test to confirm hyperthyroidism. The test measures levels of TSH and thyroxine in your blood. If you have high levels of thyroxine and low levels of TSH, this will indicate hyperthyroidism. This test is especially important for older adults, as many symptoms may not occur with them.
After the doctor has determined the condition, he or she may require a radio iodine uptake test or a thyroid scan, which can explain why your thyroid is overactive. The two typical causes are thyroiditis which is when an infection or problem with the immune system causes the gland to become inflamed and product more hormones. The second is hyperfunctioning thyroid nodules, which grow and increase activity in the gland, causing extra hormone.
There are a few options for treatment, depending on what your physician discovers. Most individuals take radioactive iodine, which causes symptoms to subside over a number of months. Anti-thyroid medications may also be used to improve symptoms. In some cases, surgery or beta blockers may be used.
All medications have side effects and that’s no different here. However, they will vary based on what you are prescribed. Talk to the doctors at www.PrimaryMedicalGroup.com if you need help with managing your disease. We’d be happy to come out and visit you at your home.