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How do you recognize signs of an overactive thyroid?

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Quick Answer

Symptoms of overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism, include a fast or irregular heart rate; feeling nervous, moody, weak or tired; feeling very hot and sweating often; and having warm, red, itching skin, states WebMD. Hand tremors, frequent or loose bowel movements, and hair that is thinning and falling out are common signs.

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Full Answer

Thyroid hormones control metabolism, so excessive amounts of thyroid hormones T4 or T3 cause a metabolic rate that is too high, explains Healthline. This hyper-metabolic state can cause weight loss regardless of food intake, heat intolerance, elevated blood pressure, insomnia, and difficulty concentrating. An enlarged thyroid gland, called a goiter, may be present. Women may have irregular menstrual cycles or stop having periods altogether, and some men may develop enlarged breasts, states WebMD. Hyperthyroidism can cause atrial fibrillation, a dangerous arrhythmia that can cause strokes, and can also lead to congestive heart failure, adds Healthline.

Antithyroid medications, such as Tapazole, are used to inhibit the synthesis of thyroid hormone, but they can have severe side effects, such as low white blood cell count, explains Healthline. Radioactive iodine is another treatment option that destroys the thyroid producing cells. Sometimes all or a portion of the thyroid gland may be surgically removed after which patients take thyroid hormone supplements to prevent hypothyroidism.

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