The small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the throat is responsible for making hormones that regulate metabolism.
Hyperthyroidism is where there is over-production of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland.
The thyroid gland makes the hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) that play an important role in the way your whole body functions. If your thyroid gland makes too much T4 and T3, this is defined as hyperthyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism can accelerate your body’s metabolism (the way your body uses energy), breathing, heart rate, nervous system, weight, body temperature, and many other functions in the body.
refers to an abnormal and excessive quantity of thyroid hormone in the body.
is due to thyroid pathology. It is the thyroid itself that is behaving abnormally and producing excessive thyroid hormone.
is the condition where the thyroid is producing excessive thyroid hormone as a result of overstimulation by thyroid stimulating hormone. The pathology is in the hypothalamus or pituitary.
Causes of Hyperthyroidism
The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is the autoimmune disorder Graves’ disease. In this disorder, the body makes an antibody (a protein produced by the body to protect against a virus or bacteria) called thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI) that causes the thyroid gland to make too much thyroid hormone. Graves’ disease runs in families and is more commonly found in women.
Hyperthyroidism also may be caused by a toxic nodular or multinodular goiter, which are lumps or nodules in the thyroid gland that cause the thyroid to produce excessive amounts of thyroid hormones. In addition, inflammation of the thyroid gland—called thyroiditis—resulting from a virus or a problem with the immune system may temporarily cause symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Furthermore, some people who consume too much iodine (either from foods or supplements) or who take medications containing iodine (such as amiodarone) may cause the thyroid gland to overproduce thyroid hormones.
Finally, some women may develop hyperthyroidism during pregnancy or in the first year after giving birth.
Hyperthyroidism can mimic other health problems, which can make it difficult for your doctor to diagnose. Increased secretions of thyroid harmones can produce myraid of symptoms that vary from patient to patient and with the age of the patient.
signs and symptoms
• Unintentional weight loss, even when your appetite and food intake stay the same or increase
• Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) — commonly more than 100 beats a minute
• Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
• Pounding of your heart (palpitations)
• Increased appetite
• Nervousness, anxiety and irritability
• Tremor — usually a fine trembling in your hands and fingers
• Changes in menstrual patterns
• Increased sensitivity to heat
• Changes in bowel patterns, especially more frequent bowel movements
• An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), which may appear as a swelling at the base of your neck
• Fatigue, muscle weakness
• Difficulty sleeping
• Skin thinning
• Fine, brittle hair
Older adults are more likely to have either no signs or symptoms or subtle ones, such as an increased heart rate, heat intolerance and a tendency to become tired during ordinary activities.
Sometimes an uncommon problem called Graves’ ophthalmopathy may affect your eyes, especially if you smoke.
Signs and symptoms of Graves’ ophthalmopathy include:
• Dry eyes
• Red or swollen eyes
• Excessive tearing or discomfort in one or both eyes
• Light sensitivity, blurry or double vision, inflammation, or reduced eye movement
• Protruding eyeballs
Hyperthyroidism is diagnosed using:
• Medical history and physical exam. During the exam your doctor may try to detect a slight tremor in your fingers when they’re extended, overactive reflexes, eye changes and warm, moist skin. Your doctor will also examine your thyroid gland as you swallow to see if it’s enlarged, bumpy or tender and check your pulse to see if it’s rapid or irregular.
• Blood tests. Blood tests that measure thyroxine and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) can confirm the diagnosis. High levels of thyroxine and low or nonexistent amounts of TSH indicate an overactive thyroid. The amount of TSH is important because it’s the hormone that signals your thyroid gland to produce more thyroxine.
• If the blood tests indicate that you have a hyperactive Thyroid your Doctor may recommend one of the following tests to determine the cause of the overactive thyroid
•Radioiodine uptake test.
For this test, you take a small, oral dose of radioactive iodine (radioiodine) to see how much will collect in your thyroid gland. You’ll be checked after four, six or 24 hours — and sometimes after all three time periods — to see how much iodine your thyroid has absorbed.
A high uptake of radioiodine indicates your thyroid gland is producing too much thyroxine. The most likely cause is either Graves’ disease or hyperfunctioning thyroid nodules. If you have hyperthyroidism and your radioiodine uptake is low, this indicates that the thyroxine stored in the gland is leaking into the bloodstream, which may mean you have thyroiditis
• Thyroid scan. During this test, you’ll have a radioactive isotope injected into the vein on the inside of your elbow or sometimes into a vein in your hand. You then lie on a table with your head stretched backward while a special camera produces an image of your thyroid gland on a computer screen. This test shows how iodine collects in your thyroid.
• Thyroid ultrasound
Ultrasound may be better at detecting thyroid nodules than other tests, and there’s no exposure to any radiation.
Foods to avoid
Eating too many iodine-rich or iodine-fortified foods may lead to hyper thyroidism or worsen it in some cases.
A teaspoon of iodized salt gives you 284 micrograms of iodine. Seafood has the most iodine. Just 1 gram of seaweed contains 2 milligrams of iodine. The recommend dose of iodine is about 1.1 milligrams per day. A low-iodine diet requires even less.
Avoid the following seafood and seafood additives:
Avoid other foods high in iodine such as:
• milk and dairy
• egg yolks
• iodized salt
• iodized water
• some food colorings
Some medications also contain iodine. These include:
• cough syrups
• medical contrast dyes
• herbal or vitamin supplements
Chemicals called nitrates may cause your thyroid to absorb too much iodine. This can lead to an enlarged thyroid and hyperthyroidism.
Nitrates are found naturally in some foods. Processed foods may contain added nitrates. It may also be found in drinking water. Avoid or limit foods such as:
• processed meats (sausage, bacon, salami, pepperoni)
In some people, gluten may harm the thyroid by causing inflammation. Even if you don’t have a gluten allergy or intolerance, it may be beneficial to restrict or limit gluten. Check food labels for gluten-containing ingredients such as:
• brewer’s yeast
While soy doesn’t contain iodine, it’s been shown to interfere with some treatments for hyperthyroidism in animals. Avoid or limit foods with soy such as:
• soy milk
• soy sauce
• soy-based creamers
Foods to Eat
Low Iodine Food
The mineral iodine plays a key role in making thyroid hormones. A low-iodine diet helps to reduce thyroid hormones. Add these foods to your daily diet:
Non Iodine salt
- coffee or tea (without milk or dairy- or soy-based creamers)
- egg whites
- fresh or canned fruit
- unsalted nuts and nut butters
- homemade bread or breads made without salt, dairy, and eggs
- popcorn with non-iodized salt
- Maple syrup
Cruciferous vegetables and other types may stop your thyroid from using iodine properly. They may be beneficial for hyperthyroidism:
- bamboo shoots
- bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- collard greens
Vitamins and Minerals
Several nutrients are essential for thyroid health and to balance thyroid hormone production.
Iron is important for many vital bodily functions, including thyroid health. This mineral is needed for blood cells to carry oxygen to every cell in your body. Low levels of iron are linked to hyperthyroidism . Get plenty of iron in your diet with foods such as:
- dried beans
- green leafy vegetables
- poultry, such as chicken and turkey
- red meat
- whole grains
Selenium-rich foods may help to balance thyroid hormone levels and protect your thyroid from disease .Selenium helps to prevent cell damage and keep your thyroid and other tissues healthy.
Good food sources of selenium include:
- Brazil nuts
- meat, such as beef and lamb
- poultry, such as chicken and turkey
- Sunflower seeds
Zinc helps you use food for energy. This mineral also keeps your immune system and thyroid healthy. Food sources of zinc include:
- Cocoa powder
- Pumpkin seeds
Calcium and Vit D
Hyperthyroidism causes weak and brittle bones. Bone mass may be restored with treatment.Vitamin D and Calcium are necessary for building healthy bones.
Calcium-rich foods include:
- collard greens
- white beans
- calcium-fortified orange juice
- Almond milk
- calcium-fortified cereals
Vitamin D is found in these low-iodine foods:
- vitamin D-fortified orange juice
- vitamin D-fortified cereals
- beef liver
- fatty fish
Fats that are from whole foods and largely unprocessed may help reduce inflammation. This helps to protect thyroid health and balance thyroid hormones. Nondairy fats are important in a low-iodine diet. These include:
- Flaxseed oil
- Olive oil
- Avacado oil
- Coconut oil
- Sunflower oil
- Safflower oil
- unsalted nuts and seeds
Some spices and herbs have anti-inflammatory properties to help protect and balance thyroid function. Add flavor and a dose of antioxidants to your daily meals with:
- green chilies
- Black pepper
Several treatments for hyperthyroidism exist. The best approach for you depends on your age, physical condition, the underlying cause of the hyperthyroidism, personal preference and the severity of your disorder. Possible treatments include:
Anti thyroid Medications
Antithyroid medications prevent the thyroid from producing excess amounts of T4 and T3 hormones.There are 2 types of antithyroid medications used in the US—propylthiouracil (PTU) and methimazole (also known as Tapazole) .These 2 medications target the thyroid gland directly to reduce T4 and T3 hormone production.
Hyperthyroidism can cause a dangerous increase in heart rate in some patients. In these cases, your doctor may use beta blockers to reduce your heart rate. Beta blockers are not for everyone, though. If you have asthma or diabetes ,these medications may aggravate your condition.
This oral medication is absorbed by your thyroid gland. Radioactive iodine works by gradually destroying the thyroid. This, in turn, reduces your hyperthyroid symptoms. This treatment is effective at permanently curing hyperthyroidism, and there are very little side effects on the rest of your body. Some may require a repeat of this treatment. But since you will no longer have a thyroid, you will need to take thyroid hormone replacement therapy to replenish the lack of thyroid hormones.
The total or partial surgical removal of the thyroid is called a thyroidectomy. A thyroidectomy, when performed by an experienced surgeon, is a safe and effective treatment.
Surgery tends to be recommended for certain types of hyperthyroidism. These include, for example, Graves’ disease with eye changes (exopthalmos) and larger and nodular thyroid goiters
In choosing your treatment, make sure you understand and discuss all the risks, benefits, and side effects with your doctor.
Hyperthyroidism being a constitutional disorder calls for an in – depth constitutional approach for its management .The science of Homeopathy is based on the concept that disease is a total affliction of body and may find its local expression at the level of certain organs. Hence homeopathy prescription takes into account presenting complaints along with physical, emotional and genetic makeup of a person that individualizes him/her. The remedy prescribed based on this entire totality treats the disorder at its root cause and thus restores the normal functioning of the body.
Homeopathy helps in alleviating the symptoms associated with the condition. Moreover, homeopathy works at a deeper level to bring deviations of immunity back to normalcy and to restore the harmony of the body. It helps in controlling the symptoms while restoring the hormones level back to normal.It also helps to reduce the doses of conventional medication in the long run.. Extreme cases where the hyperactivity of thyroid gland has affected other vital organs, homeopathy has a limited role.
Medications and Treatment mentioned in this blog are to be taken only after expert medical practitioner .Self drugging can aggravate or worsen your complaints .
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