General Illness Information
Medical Term: Hyperthyroidism
Description: Excessive levels of thyroid hormone – usually due to over-activity of the thyroid gland. This hormone regulates all body functions, and therefore over-production of thyroid hormone will have widespread effect in the body.
Types of hyperthyroidism include:
- Graves’ disease (GD) – the most common form – an autoimmune disease;
- Toxic multinodular goiter – occurs late in life. Nodules are insidious and almost never malignant;
- Toxic uninodular goiter – solitary nodule with autonomous function. Almost always benign;
- Other causes are rare and include pituitary tumors, trophoblastic tumors, and iodine-induced hyperthyroidism, especially from the cardiac drug amiodarone.
- Graves’ disease – autoimmune disease;
- Toxic multinodular goiter – iodine deprivation followed by iodine replacement;
- Toxic uninodular goiter – unknown.
Signs & Symptoms
- Increased sweating;
- Heat intolerance;
- Shortness of breath;
- Fatigue and weakness;
- Weight loss;
- Increased appetite;
- Exophthalmos (protruding eyes);
- Warm and moist skin;
- Emotional changes;
- Hair loss.
- Positive family history;
- Female sex;
- Other autoimmune disorders;
- Iodide repletion after iodide deprivation.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Diagnostic work-up includes complete history and physical examination, blood tests to check level of thyroid hormones and other associated hormone levels and sometimes radioactive iodine (I131) uptake studies (i.e. measuring thyroid activity by doing a thyroid test).
- Appropriate treatment will depend on the size of the goiter, the causes, your age, and a variety of other factors;
- Rarely, subtotal thyroidectomy is required.
Antithyroid drugs, therapeutic radioiodine, beta blockers for tachycardia and tremor.
No restrictions. Maintain adequate caloric intake, because of the high metabolism caused by excess thyroid.
- Hypoparathyroidism, recurrent laryngeal nerve damage, and hypothyroidism with subtotal thyroidectomy;
- Development of hypothyroidism after radioiodine treatment;
- Visual loss or diplopia due to severe ophthalmopathy;
- Localized pretibial myxedema at any time;
- Cardiac failure in the elderly with underlying heart disease;
- Muscle wasting; proximal muscle weakness.
Good, with proper diagnosis and treatment.