Hyperthyroidism is a common condition in which the thyroid is overactive and produces too much of the hormones thyroxine and/or triiodothyronine. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck, just below at the Adam’s apple. Although small in size, the thyroid has a very important role in the body’s metabolic functions. Specifically, the thyroid controls a person’s metabolism and affects the heart, muscles, bones, and cholesterol.
Grave’s disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism, although thyroid nodules and thyroiditis can also cause this condition. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and while it can happen at any age, it rarely affects children.
Hyperthyroidism causes a wide array of symptoms that are also shared with many other health conditions, so it’s important to consult a medical professional to receive a proper diagnosis. Symptoms can include:
- Sudden unexplained weight loss
- Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
- Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
- Pounding heartbeat (heart palpitations)
- Feelings of anxiety, nervousness, and irritability
- Fatigue and muscle weakness
- Increased sensitivity to heat
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased appetite
- For women, changes in menstrual pattern
- Changes in bowel patterns
- Skin thinning
- Fine, brittle hair
Hyperthyroidism generally does not go away on its own, so treatment under the supervision of a medical professional is required. This condition is usually treated with medications and adhering to a healthy and active lifestyle.
Tampa General Hospital, rated by U.S. News & World Report as one of America's Best Hospitals for Diabetes & Endocrinology, offers treatment for hyperthyroidism and other thyroid disorders. In the TGH Thyroid Cancer & Parathyroid Institute, the training and experience of all of our medical professionals on staff as well as all of our diagnostic testing and equipment available enable us to aptly address the needs of our patients.