5 Signs of Hyperthyroidism

More than 2 million Americans suffer from an overactive thyroid gland, also called hyperthyroidism, a chronic condition that affects about 10 times as many women as men.

In hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland produces too many thyroid hormones. Learning to recognize the signs and symptoms is the best way to get treatment as early as possible.

At Grassroots Healthcare in Tulsa, Oklahoma, our team works with every patient individually to provide patient-centered care attuned to each person’s unique needs. That includes educating patients about chronic conditions like hyperthyroidism, so women and men can recognize problems early on. In this post, our team provides a brief overview of hyperthyroidism, including five common signs.

The thyroid gland: The butterfly in your neck

Read just about any source on thyroid disease and you’re sure to run across a reference to the “butterfly-shaped gland” in your neck. That’s actually an apt description for the thyroid gland, which features two lobes (like butterfly wings) that “hug” your neck just at its base.

The thyroid produces and secretes hormones that play a big role in several important functions, like:

Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid produces and releases too many of these hormones, while hypothyroidism (or underactive thyroid) happens when hormone production or secretion is inadequate for your body’s needs.

Different conditions can cause or contribute to hyperthyroidism, including an inflammatory condition called thyroiditis and an autoimmune disorder called Graves’ disease (the most common cause of hyperthyroidism). 

Signs of hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism can cause an array of symptoms, including these five.

#1: Rapid heartbeat

People with hyperthyroidism produce too much of the hormone thyroxine, and this hormone has a direct influence on your heart rate. Specifically, too much thyroxine causes your heart to beat faster and harder. You might even have chest pain, especially if your hyperthyroidism also causes an increase in your blood pressure. 

#2: Anxiety

Feeling anxious, nervous, restless, or agitated are also common side effects associated with hyperthyroidism. Those feelings can be exacerbated if your heart rate is also increased.

#3: Sleep problems

Increased feelings of anxiety or nervousness associated with hyperthyroidism can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep, too. Hyperthyroidism can also increase your urine output, causing you to wake more frequently at night. Some people with hyperthyroidism have night sweats that take away from the quality of their sleep.

#4: Unexplained weight loss

Thyroid hormones help control metabolism, the rate at which your body burns off calories. When thyroid hormone levels are elevated, your metabolism can increase, and that means you can wind up losing weight — even without dieting.

#5: Hair and skin changes

An overactive thyroid can also cause changes in your hair and skin, and your fingernails, too. Hyperthyroidism is associated with thinning hair and itchy skin. Fingernails may appear rounded or domed, and they may separate from the underlying nail bed.

Treating hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism can be controlled with medication and lifestyle changes to improve not just your thyroid function, but your overall wellness, too. The team at Grassroots Healthcare performs a thorough examination first to determine the cause of hyperthyroidism, then tailors your treatment to suit your unique health needs for long-term, targeted care.

Thyroid problems typically can be diagnosed with a simple blood test and a review of your symptoms. If you think you might have hyperthyroidism, call the office or book an appointment online today.

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