Thyroid problems are common all over the world. Thyroid problems occur when the thyroid produces too much or too low 'thyroxine'. Both the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus gland contribute to controlling the thyroid gland and its functions by releasing the hormones TSH and TRH. Therefore, when thyroid hormone production is low, these two glands secrete TSH and TRH, further encouraging the thyroid gland to secrete more hormones. But when the thyroid makes more than usual thyroid hormone, hyperthyroidism symptoms develop. Are you eager to learn more about this hyperthyroidism, treatment, and medication? Yes? You have landed in the right place.
Be ready to unfold various things about hyperthyroidism!
What is hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism is also called overactive thyroid. It is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces more hormones than usual. The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland situated in the neck and mainly known for producing hormones called T3 (Tri Iodothyronine / Levothyronine) and T4 (Thyroxine Sodium/ Levothyroxine).
During hyperthyroidism, the metabolism starts working faster due to increased hormones. However, some people with hyperthyroidism do not even see any symptoms for a long time.
Hyperthyroidism signs and symptoms
Hyperthyroidism Symptoms can differ from person to person. However, there are usually some symptoms that include these.
- Irregular heartbeat
- Anxiety and irritability
- Tremor in hand and fingers
- Excessive sweating
- Change in menstruation cycle
- Increased sensitivity to hot weather
- Frequent need to pass stools
- Extreme tiredness and muscle weakness
- Hair thinning and hair loss
- Inability to concentrate
Sometimes, the thyroid gland itself can also swell to become a goitre. Your eyes may also appear wideout, which is a symptom of exophthalmos and is related to Graves' disease.
There are many causes of hyperthyroidism, including Graves' disease, thyroid nodules and thyroiditis, and thyroid inflammation. Apart from this, many other factors affect hyperthyroidism.
Graves' disease is a genetic disorder seen more in women than in men. It triggers obesity and various problems. In this disease, the immune system starts harming the thyroid gland, due to which the thyroid gland gets stimulated and starts producing more hormones than usual.
Overactive Thyroid nodules
A thyroid nodule is a lump in your thyroid. Thyroid nodules are common and are usually soft. However, one or more nodules may become overactive and produce too much thyroid hormone. The presence of multiple overactive nodules occurs most often in adults.
Thyroiditis is thyroid inflammation that causes accumulated thyroid hormone to leak from your thyroid gland. The leading cause of thyroid inflammation is usually infection. Women generally suffer from thyroiditis after pregnancy due to autoimmune diseases or unfamiliar conditions. Hyperthyroidism can last up to 3 months, after which your thyroid becomes underactive. But in several cases, it stays longer than this and can be forever. Several types of thyroiditis, such as subacute thyroiditis, postpartum thyroiditis, and silent thyroiditis, can cause hyperthyroidism.
Too much iodine in the body
Increased iodine level in the body raises the risk of hyperthyroidism. Your thyroid uses iodine to make thyroid hormone. The amount of iodine you consume affects the amount of thyroid hormone your thyroid makes. But in some people, consuming large amounts of iodine can cause the thyroid to make too much thyroid hormone. Did you know that some medicines and cough syrups may contain too much iodine?
The higher dose of thyroid hormone medication
Some people who take thyroid hormone medication for hypothyroidism can harm you. You should have your thyroid hormone levels checked after 3 to 6 months if you take thyroid hormone medication. If your thyroid hormone levels are elevated, you must see your doctor. Remember, some other medicines can also raise hormone levels.
Risk of Hyperthyroidism
Some people are more prone to hyperthyroidism. For instance
- Women after pregnancy
- 60 years of age and older
- A person who underwent thyroid surgery or already suffering from thyroid issues
- Family history of thyroid disease
- Fast heartbeat and the body that cannot make enough red blood cells.
- A person with vitamin B12 deficiency.
- Type 1 diabetes
- Hormonal imbalance
- Due to excessive iodine levels in the body.
A thyroid doctor will ask about your symptoms and run some tests to treat hyperthyroidism. The hyperthyroidism test includes blood tests and tests related to the secretion of thyroid hormones. The disease can also be detected and treated by antibody screening and radioactive iodine scans.
Hyperthyroidism is treated according to the severity, symptoms, and health condition. Its treatment options include:
Hyperthyroidism is usually treated with antithyroid medications. These drugs stop the thyroid gland from making more hormones, resulting in fewer symptoms. In addition, other medicines may be recommended to the patient, depending on the symptoms, including NSAIDs to lessen swelling and redness and beta-blockers to normalise the heartbeat.
When the symptoms are beyond medication control, Radioactive ablation therapy comes to the rescue. In this treatment, overactive cells responsible for releasing excess hormones are destroyed.
If any treatment is not helping to fade away the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, the doctor suggests going for surgery of your thyroid gland.
Functional medicine is a new patient-oriented approach to treating chronic thyroid illnesses. It mainly focuses on finding and addressing the root cause of the disease. Functional medicine doctors not just focus on medical treatments but pay attention to patients' lifestyles, diet, and social environment. Because these factors also affect your disease and the health of the patient.
Foods to eat in hyperthyroidism
You can add the following foods to the hyperthyroidism diet.
- Low-iodine foods: Non-iodized salt, egg whites, unsalted nuts, oats, potatoes, and honey.
- Cruciferous vegetables: bamboo shoots, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cassava, cauliflower, collard greens, and kale.
- Vitamins and minerals: dried beans, green leafy vegetables, lentils, nuts, chicken, turkey, seeds, whole grains, brazil nuts, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, chickpeas, mushrooms, spinach, kale, etc.
Foods to avoid with hyperthyroidism
A person with hyperthyroidism must avoid the following:
- Foods high in iodine: Milk and dairy, cheese, egg yolks, iodized salt, and iodized water.
- Seafood: Fish, seaweed, prawns, etc.
- Gluten-containing food: Wheat, barley, rye, and triticale
- Drinks: Coffee, alcohol, tea, soda, and chocolate drinks.
In a nutshell
Once diagnosed with hypothyroidism, it becomes crucial to seek the proper treatment to fight back the symptoms. But only medicine won't help you get back on track; you need to make some lifestyle changes like adding good eating habits, indulging in daily exercise, and maintaining your sleeping cycle of at least seven to eight hours. An unhealthy lifestyle not just raises the risk of severe hyperthyroidism but also activates other health complications.
" Choose a healthy lifestyle and ensure better functioning of your thyroid gland."