This refers to the surplus production of a hormone (thyroxine) by the butterfly-shaped gland in the neck (thyroid).
Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which an overactive thyroid gland is producing an excessive amount of thyroid hormones that circulate in the blood. (“Hyper” means “over” in Greek). Thyroid hormones include thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). T3 is actually the most active thyroid hormone. Much of the T4 is converted to T3 in the bloodstream. Hyperthyroidism can increase metabolism and as such,it is also called the OVERACTIVE THYROID.Normally, the rate of thyroid hormone production is controlled by the brain from the pituitary gland, which is in turn regulated by the hypothalamus.
Statistic shows that in more than 70% of cases, hyperthyroidism is caused by Graves’ disease and can be associated with eye disease (Graves’ opthalmopathy).Normally, the immune system helps protect your body against viruses, bacteria, and other substances. An autoimmune disease causes it to attack your body’s tissues and/or organs. With Graves’ disease, the immune system stimulates your thyroid, making it produce too much hormone. Doctors think Graves’ disease may run in families. It is most common among young women.
Two other common causes for hyperthyroidism are:
1.Hyperfunctioning (overactive) thyroid nodules. One or more nodules or lumps in the thyroid grow. This increases the production of the thyroid hormone.
2.A problem with the immune system or a viral infection causes the thyroid gland to become inflamed. This causes extra thyroid hormone to leak into your bloodstream. Thyroiditis could lead to hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) over time.
Hyperthyroidism is associated by so many signs and symptoms, however People at the age 70 and older may not have any symptoms and signs of hyperthyroidism. In general, the symptoms become more obvious as the degree of hyperthyroidism increases. The symptoms usually are related to an increase in the metabolic rate of the body.
The common symptoms includes;
*Increased bowel movements
*Tremor (usually fine shaking)
*Nervousness, agitation, anxiety
*Mental sluggishness like confusion
*Irregular menstrual circle
*Heat failure in older people
*Increased cold sensitivity.
If it is not treated, hyperthyroidism can lead to other health problems. These include:
*Heart problems: A rapid heart rate, a heart rhythm disorder (called atrial fibrillation), or congestive heart failure can result.
*Brittle bones (osteoporosis): Too much thyroid hormone can prevent your body from absorbing calcium into your bones. You can get calcium in your food or your doctor may recommend a calcium supplement.
*Thyrotoxic crisis: A sudden worsening of hyperthyroidism symptoms that leads to a fever, rapid pulse, and delirium. Signs of delirium include decreased awareness, confusion, and restlessness. See a doctor right away if this occurs.
Infertility. Too much thyroid hormone can make it hard for some women to get pregnant. An overactive thyroid also can be harmful to the mother and baby during pregnancy. Most doctors test women’s thyroid hormone levels at this stage.
Hyperthyroidism cannot be prevented as there’s no any proven measures for it’s prevention, however it can be treated through the following
*Proper dieting (intake of vitamin D,calcium and sodium) and exercise
Here are some food to eat when affected by overactive thyroid;
*coffee or tea (without milk or dairy- or soy-based creamers)
*Fresh or canned fruit.
*unsalted nuts and nut butters.
*homemade bread or breads made without salt, dairy, and eggs.
*popcorn with non-iodized salt.
A treatment option should be selected based on the patients assessment and obvious signs and symptoms as well as their personal values and preference.