Sudden weight loss, rapid heartbeat, neck swelling, red and swollen eyes are signs of Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism is a condition where the thyroid glands produce too much of thyroxine. Excess of thyroxine brings changes in the metabolism. The fall-out is seen as sudden weight loss, irregular heartbeat, sweating, nervousness and irritability. Effective treatments for hyperthyroidism include administering of anti-thyroid medications and radioactive iodine. In some cases, the doctor may advise for partial or complete removal of the thyroid gland.
Hyperthyroidism is caused by conditions like Graves disease, Hyper functioning thyroid nodules, and Thyroiditis. Graves disease is an autoimmune disorder that stimulates the production of thyroid. Hyperthyroidism occurs even when one or more adenomas produce too much of thyroxine (T4). Thyroiditis is the inflammation of thyroid gland that may enhance the production of thyroid hormone.
The symptoms of hyperthyroidism are similar to other diseases, which makes it difficult to identify the exact problem. The symptoms of hyperthyroidism are evident as sudden weight loss, rapid heartbeat, increased appetite, tremors, erratic menstrual pattern, enlarged thyroid gland, insomnia, skin thinning and fatigue.
RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS
The risks of hyperthyroidism are more in women than in men. Also, history of thyroid in the family may also pose the risk of hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism brings with it the complications viz. heart problems, brittle bones, eye problems, red and swollen eyes, and thyrotoxic crisis. Many of these problems or complications are reversible with appropriate treatment.
TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS
The doctor looks for visible symptoms of hyperthyroidism. The thyroid gland is examined for swelling. Conditions like difficulty in swallowing food, changes in the heart beat, red or swollen eyes, warm and moist skin are also observed. Later the doctor advises for blood test, which includes measuring the levels of thyroxine and TSH in the blood. Also, the radio iodine uptake test and thyroid scan are also advised to confirm the condition of hyperthyroidism.
TREATMENTS AND DRUGS
Treatment for hyperthyroidism depends on the age of the person, physical condition, personal preference and severity of the condition. Radioactive iodine, anti-thyroid medications, beta blockers and surgery (thyroidectomy) are the usual treatments for hyperthyroidism.
Radioactive iodine taken by mouth helps to shrink the thyroid gland. This results in hyperthyroid symptoms to subside. Anti-thyroid medications prevent the thyroid gland to produce excess of thyroid hormone. Beta blockers that are used to treat heart problems are also administered to hyperthyroid patients. They help to check rapid heart rate and prevent palpitations seen in hyperthyroid patients. Surgery of thyroid gland is recommended for pregnant women who cannot tolerate anti-thyroid drugs.
Read more about thyroid problems, symptoms, causes and treatment.