Hyperthyroidism symptoms and treatment are as follows:
Thyroid hormone generally controls the pace of all the processes in the body. This pace is called your metabolism. If there is too much thyroid hormone, every function of the body tends to speed up. It is not surprising then that some of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism are nervousness, irritability, increased perspiration, heart racing, hand tremors, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, thinning of your skin, fine brittle hair, and muscular weakness-especially in the upper arms and thighs. You may have more frequent bowel movements, but diarrhea is uncommon. You may lose weight despite a good appetite and, for woman, menstrual flow may lighten and menstrual periods may occur less often. Hyperthyroidism usually begins slowly. At first, the symptoms may be mistaken for simple nervousness due to stress. If you have been trying to lose weight by dieting, you may be pleased with your success until the hyperthyroidism, which has quickened the weight loss, causes other problems. In Graves’ disease, which is the most common form of hyperthyroidism, the eyes may look enlarged because the upper lids are elevated. Sometimes one or both eyes may bulge. Some patients have swelling of the front of the neck from an enlarged thyroid gland (a goiter). No single treatment is best for all patients with hyperthyroidism. Your doctor’s choice of treatment will be influenced by your age, the type of hyperthyroidism that you have, the severity of your hyperthyroidism and other medical conditions that may be affecting your health. It may be a good idea to consult with a physician who is experienced in the treatment of hyperthyroid patients. If you are unconvinced or unclear about any thyroid treatment plan, a second opinion is a good idea. Drugs known as antithyroid agents-methimazole (Tapazole©) or propylthiouracil (PTU)-may be prescribed if your doctor chooses to treat the hyperthyroidism by blocking the thyroid gland’s ability to make new thyroid hormone. These drugs work well to control the overactive thyroid, bring prompt control of hyperthyroidism, and do not cause permanent damage to the thyroid gland. In about 20% to 30% of patients with Graves’ disease, treatment with anti-thyroid drugs for a period of 12 to 18 months will result in prolonged remission of the disease. For patients with toxic nodular or multi-nodular goiter, anti-thyroid drugs are used in preparation for either radioiodine treatment or surgery. Anti-thyroid drugs cause allergic reactions in about 5% of patients who take them. Common minor reactions are red skin rashes, hives and occasionally fever and joint pains. A rarer (occurring in 1 of 500 patients), but more serious side effect is a decrease in the number of white blood cells. Such a decrease can lower your resistance to infection. Very rarely, these white blood cells disappear completely, producing a condition known as agranulocytosis, a potentially fatal problem if a serious infection occurs. If you are taking one of these drugs and get an infection such as a fever or sore throat, you should stop the drug immediately and have a white blood cell count that day. Even if the drug has lowered your white blood cell count, the count will return to normal if the drug is stopped immediately. But if you continue to take one of these drugs in spite of a low white blood cell count, there is a risk of a more serious, even life-threatening infection. Liver damage is another very rare side effect. You should stop the drug and call your doctor if you develop yellow eyes, dark urine, severe fatigue, or abdominal pain.
American Thyroid Association ©2005