What Is Hyperthyroidism?


Quick Answer

Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland becomes overactive, resulting in the production of excess thyroid hormone, states MedlinePlus. The condition may lead to rapid heartbeat, abnormalities in the heart rhythm, heart failure or osteoporosis. The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves disease.

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Other causes of hyperthyroidism include consuming a lot of iodine-packaged foods, taking excess amounts of thyroxine, and certain tumors of the ovaries or testes, according to MedlinePlus. Noncancerous growths of the pituitary or thyroid, inflammation of the thyroid as a result of taking certain medications, viral infections, and post-pregnancy conditions may cause overactive thyroid as well.

Hyperthyroidism symptoms include fatigue, cognitive difficulties, weight loss or gain, shaky hands, and bowel movements that occur regularly, notes MedlinePlus. A person who experiences difficulty sleeping, increased appetite, restlessness and inability to withstand heat may suffer from the problem. Men with hyperthyroidism may grow breasts. Other symptoms include hair loss, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and itchy skin or eyes.

Treatment of hyperthyroidism includes taking antithyroid medications to counter excess production of thyroxine and using radioactive iodine to hamper or regulate the activity of the thyroid, explains MedlinePlus. Surgical removal of the thyroid may aid in treating the problem as well. However, surgery may result in hoarseness, neck scarring and issues pertaining to underactive thyroid.

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