|Thyroid Gland Disorders: Hyperthyroidism|
means an overactivity of the thyroid gland, resulting in too much thyroid
hormone in the bloodstream. The oversecretion of thyroid hormones leads
to overactivity of the body's metabolism. Hyperthyroidism exists in several
different forms. These include:
- Graves' disease or diffuse toxic goiter (goiter refers
to an enlarged thyroid which may cause a bulge in the neck). Graves'
disease is most often associated with hyperthyroidism. Graves' disease
is suspected to be caused by an antibody which overstimulates the thyroid,
resulting in excess production of thyroid hormone. Graves' disease is
categorised as an autoimmune disorder (a dysfunction of the body's
immune system). The disease is most common in young to middle-aged women
and tends to run in families.
- Toxic nodular goiter
or multinodular goiter . Hyperthyroidism
caused by toxic nodular goiter is where one or more nodules of the thyroid
becomes overactive. The overactive nodules actually act as benign thyroid
tumours. The cause of toxic nodular goiter is not known.
- Thyroiditis . Thyroiditis,
an inflammation of the thyroid gland, causes temporary hyperthyroidism,
usually followed by .
There are 3 types of thyroiditis: Hashimoto's
thyroiditis , subacute granulomatous thyroiditis
- Also, if a person takes too many thyroid hormone
tablets, hyperthyroidism may occur.
Symptoms and Signs
The most common symptoms ( for list) of hyperthyroidism may differ from one individual to
another as well as depending on the type of hyperthyroidism.
For example the symptoms of Graves' disease are identical
to hyperthyroidism, with the addition of 3 other symptoms: goiter ,
exophthalmos (bulging eyes) and thickened
skin over the shin area.
Symptoms of toxic nodular goiter do not include exophthalmos or skin problems,
as in Graves' disease.
Diagnosis and Treatment
In addition to a complete medical history
and medical examination, diagnostic procedures for hyperthyroidism may
include the measurement of thyroid hormone in
the bloodstream and/or a thyroid scan, which
uses a radioactive substance to create an image of the thyroid as it is
Treatment for hyperthyroidism is very specific
for each patient. The goal of treatment is to restore the thyroid gland
to normal function, producing normal levels of thyroid hormone.
Treatment options include the use of antithyroid
drugs that help lower the level of thyroid hormones in the blood;
radioactive iodine , in the form of a pill
or liquid, which damages thyroid cells so that production of thyroid hormones
is slowed down, surgery to remove part of
the thyroid (the overactive nodule), use of beta
blocking agents , which block the action of the thyroid hormone
on the body (these drugs do not change the levels of thyroid hormone
in the blood, but make the patient feel better).
The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken
from the following source(s):
University of Maryland Medical System Online Health Guides:
(def;articles & more)