What are the causes of slightly elevated thyroid levels?


Quick Answer

Slightly elevated thyroid levels may be caused by a condition called hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism, also referred to as an overactive thyroid or overactive thyroid disease, occurs when the thyroid gland produces more thyroid hormones than the body needs, explains WebMD.

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Full Answer

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include anxiety, difficulty sleeping, hair changes, menstrual cycle changes and rapid heartbeat. Some people also experience shaky hands, sweating and frequent, loose bowel movements, says WebMD. Mild forms of hyperthyroidism do not always cause noticeable symptoms. Hyperthyroidism may be caused by other conditions, such as Graves’ disease. Graves’ disease is an autoimmune condition that causes the thyroid gland to produce excessive levels of the thyroid hormone.

Thyroiditis is another source of elevated thyroid levels and occurs when a virus or immune problem causes the thyroid gland to swell and leak hormones into the blood stream, notes WebMD. Thyroid nodules, excessive amounts of iodine and certain thyroid medications may also increase thyroid levels.

Hyperthyroidism is diagnosed through blood tests, ultrasounds, thyroid scans, or radioactive iodine uptake tests. The condition may be treated with anti-thyroid medication, radioactive iodine, surgery or beta-blockers, states WebMD. Medical treatment is important because hyperthyroidism can cause complications, such as irregular heart rhythm, congestive heart failure or osteoporosis.

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