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What are common treatments for hyperthyroidism?

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Quick Answer

Radioactive iodine, anti-thyroid medications, beta blockers and surgery are common hyperthyroidism treatments, states Mayo Clinic. Treatment options depends on the severity of the condition and an individual’s age and overall physical condition.

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Radioactive iodine is taken orally for the thyroid gland to absorb, explains Mayo Clinic. This treatment shrinks the thyroid gland and symptoms begin to lessen within three to six months. Medication may also be needed to replace deficient thyroxine caused by the subsequent lowered thyroid activity. Radioactive iodine is the longest used treatment for hyperthyroidism and is considered generally safe. Anti-thyroid medications such as propylthiouracil and methimazole reduce the amount of hormones the thyroid produces, and symptoms typically improve in six to 12 weeks. Anti-thyroid medications can cause liver damage, joint pain, fever and skin rashes, but they can permanently clear hyperthyroidism symptoms.

Beta blockers typically treat high blood pressure and also effectively prevent palpitations and rapid heart rate caused by hyperthyroidism, notes Mayo Clinic. Beta blocker side effects include stomach issues, dizziness, headache and fatigue, and are often only used until thyroid levels return closer to normal. Thyroidectomy treats hyperthyroidism in pregnant individuals along with those who can not tolerate other hyperthyroidism treatments. This surgical procedure involves removing most of the thyroid gland, which may result in vocal cord and parathyroid gland damage.

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