HYPERTHYROIDISM

Hyperthyroidism

  •  The thyroid gland secretes the hormones T3, T4 under the control of the hormone TSH to regulate the metabolism and function of many organs in the body
  •  In hyperthyroidism T3, T4 or both are produced in excess by the gland, making it an overactive gland.
  •  Treatment of the underlying cause and correction of these hormones can relieve symptoms and prevent complications.

    Causes:

  •  Graves’ disease - an autoimmune disorder that stimulates the thyroid to secrete too much hormone.
  •  Excess consumption of iodine
  •  Thyroiditis or inflammation of the thyroid
  •  Benign tumors of the thyroid gland
  •  Overmedication of hormone medication

    Symptoms:

  •  Frequent bowel movement
  •  Weight loss
  •  Palpitations
  •  Irregular menstrual cycle
  •  Eye changes
  •  Increased appetite
  •  Nervousness
  •  Inability to concentrate
  •  Difficulty speaking
  •  Fine, brittle hair

    Diagnosis:

  •  Measurement of T3, T4 and TSH levels. An abnormally low TSH is suggestive of hyperthyroidism
  •  Ultrasound of the thyroid gland to determine the increase in bulk of the thyroid gland or the presence of a tumour.
  •  Routine blood tests including cholesterol and triglyceride levels to evaluate the metabolic state of the patient.
  •  Anti-thyroid antibodies levels in the blood.
  •  Imaging (CT/MRI) may be needed to identify the presence of a tumour in the pituitary gland in the brain. This results in increased TSH production leading to elevated T3 or T4 levels, which further reduce the TSH levels via negative feedback. Hence, a patient with hyperthyroidism would have high T3 or T4 levels and reduced levels of TSH

    Treatment:

  •  Correction of the underlying cause.
  •  Steroids are given in patients suffering from thyroiditis
  •  Anti-thyroid medication stop the thyroid from producing the hormones.
  •  Radioactive iodine may be used to destroy thyroid tissue, hence stop the production of thyroid hormones. This has some side effects (such as overcorrection and leaving the patient in a hypothyroid state) and must be taken with several precautions.
  •   Stress or infections can lead to a condition known as thyroid storm in patients with hyperthyroidism due to a sudden release of a large amount of hormones into the blood.