Hyperthyroidism is overactivity of the thyroid gland that leads to high levels of thyroid hormones and speeding up of vital body functions
- Graves' disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism.
- Heart rate and blood pressure may increase, heart rhythms may be abnormal, and people may sweat .excessively, feel nervous and anxious, have difficulty sleeping, and lose weight without trying.
- Blood tests can confirm the diagnosis.
Hyperthyroidism affects about 1% of people in the United States. It can occur at any age but is more common in women during menopause and after childbirth.
Causes of Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism has several causes, including Graves' disease, thyroiditis, inflammation from toxic substances or radiation exposure, toxic thyroid nodules, and overstimulation due to an overactive pituitary gland
Graves' disease, the most common cause of hyperthyroidism, is an autoimmune disorder caused by an abnormal protein (antibody) in the blood that stimulates the thyroid to produce and secrete excess thyroid hormones into the blood. This cause of hyperthyroidism is often hereditary, especially in women, and almost always leads to a diffusely enlarged thyroid.
Thyroiditis is inflammation of the thyroid gland. In subacute thyroiditis, silent lymphocytic thyroiditis, and, much less often, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, hyperthyroidism occurs as stored hormones are released from the inflamed gland. Hypothyroidism usually follows because the levels of stored hormones are depleted. Finally, the gland usually returns to normal function.
Inflammation from toxic substances or radiation exposure, like the three main types of thyroiditis, can also cause hyperthyroidism.
A toxic (hyperfunctional) thyroid nodule (adenoma) is an area of abnormal local tissue growth within the thyroid gland. This abnormal tissue produces thyroid hormones even without stimulation by thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Thus, a nodule escapes the mechanisms that normally control the thyroid gland and produces thyroid hormones in large quantities. Toxic multinodular goiter (Plummer's disease), in which there are many nodules, is uncommon in adolescents and young adults and tends to become more common with aging
Drugs and iodine can cause hyperthyroidism. Drugs include amiodarone . Excess iodine, as may occur in people taking certain expectorants, or iodine-containing contrast agents for x-ray studies may cause hyperthyroidism. An overactive pituitary gland can produce too much TSH, which in turn leads to overproduction of thyroid hormones. However, this is an extremely rare cause of hyperthyroidism.
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
Most people with hyperthyroidism have an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter). The entire gland may be enlarged, or nodules may develop within certain areas. The gland may be tender and painful
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism, regardless of the cause, reflect the speeding up of body functions: increased heart rate and blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), excessive sweating, hand tremors (shakiness), nervousness and anxiety, difficulty sleeping (insomnia), weight loss despite increased appetite, increased activity level despite fatigue and weakness, and frequent bowel movements, occasionally with diarrhea. Older people with hyperthyroidism may not develop these characteristic symptoms but have what is sometimes called apathetic or masked hyperthyroidism, in which they become weak, sleepy, confused, withdrawn, and depressed. Hyperthyroidism can cause changes in the eyes. A person with hyperthyroidism may appear to be staring.
Doctors usually suspect hyperthyroidism on the basis of the symptoms. Blood tests are used to confirm the diagnosis. Often, testing begins with measurement of TSH. If the thyroid gland is overactive, the level of TSH is low. However, in rare cases in which the pituitary gland is overactive, the level of TSH is normal or high. If the level of TSH in the serum is low, doctors measure the levels of the thyroid hormones in the blood. If there is a question of whether Graves' disease is the cause, doctors check a sample of blood for the presence of antithyroid antibodies. More specific antibodies can be measured, but such a test is rarely needed.
If a toxic thyroid nodule is suspected as the cause, a thyroid scan will show whether the nodule is overactive, that is, whether it is producing excess hormones. Such a scan may also help doctors in their evaluation of Graves' disease: In a person with Graves' disease, the scan shows the entire gland to be overactive, not just one area. In thyroiditis, the scan shows low activity.
Prognosis and Treatment
Treatment of hyperthyroidism depends on the cause. In most cases, the problem causing hyperthyroidism can be cured, or the symptoms can be eliminated or greatly reduced. If left untreated, however, hyperthyroidism places undue stress on the heart and many other organs.
Homeopathic Treatment of Hyperthyroidism
Homeopathy works wonderfully in the early and mild cases of Hyperthyroidism. Extreme cases where the hyper activity of thyroid gland has affected other vital organs.
Lodium: For Hyperthyroidism with quick weight loss
Lodium is one of the best natural medicines for treating Hyperthyroidism. This remedy is mainly prescribed for patients of Hyperthyroidism who lose weight quickly despite having a good appetite. Such patients need something to eat at very short intervals and always feel better while eating. Feeling excessive heat in body and wanting to stay in a cool environment are the other symptoms. Mentally the person is very anxious about present issues and not about future. Lodium also works very well in relieving Hyperthyroid patients from excessive palpitations which get worse from even slight exertion. Extreme weakness is a common symptom described by patients and the weakness is mainly felt on going upstairs.
Natrum Muriaticum: For Hyperthyroidism with Irritability
Natrum Muriaticum is a natural medicine used for treating Hyperthyroidism mainly for patients who are irritated very easily and get upset over little things. The person remains depressed with weeping when alone and it always gets aggravated when someone tries to console. The persons requiring this medicine feel very hot and cannot bear the heat of sun. They suffer from severe headaches when exposed to sun. An unusual craving for salt in excess is always present in a person who is recommended this medicine. Another important symptom guiding towards using remedy NatrumMuriaticum is when a Hyperthyroid patient keeps on losing weight despite having regular and proper meals. The person looks very weak, especially around the neck region. The patient feels very weak especially in morning when in bed. The heart rate always remains on the higher side. This natural medicine can also help in regularising the menstrual cycle in women with Hyperthyroidism whose menses remain suppressed for too long.
Lachesis Mutus: For Hyperthyroidism with extreme heat
Lachesis Mutus is of great help for patients of Hyperthyroidism who suffer from the sensation of the body feeling extremely hot. Such patients cannot wear tight clothes and always keep their collars around the neck and the belt around the waist loose. For the prescription of this natural medicine, the mental symptoms that are usually considered are sadness with an aversion to do any kind of work. The person does not wish to mix up and wants to go somewhere alone. Excessive talkativeness is a leading mind symptom for the use of Lachesis Mutus. It is also the remedy for women of menopause age suffering from Hyperthyroidism. The women complain of excessive hot flushes and palpitations. The menstrual flow is very less and the duration is also short. Feeling of wellness during menses is an important feature for its use in women. Another leading feature is complaint of pounding of heart or palpitations with episodes of fainting. Worsening of the condition during sleep is a prominent symptom for the use of this medicine in Hyperthyroid patients.
Phosphorus: For Hyperthyroidism with extreme Sensitivity, Hairfall
Phosphorus is another top natural medicine for treatment of Hyperthyroidism. This remedy is of great help for tall and thin patients who are very sensitive to external impressions like touch, odour, light. This medicine can be used for treating longstanding diarrhoea in patients of Hyperthyroidism. The patient complains of very profuse and offensive stool with weakness of extreme degree. Appetite of such persons increases and they feel hungry immediately after eating. Another sphere where this medicine proves to be useful in patients of Hyperthyroidism is in controlling excessive hairfall where the patient complains of falling of hair in bunches. Certain peculiar eating habits also give a hint in using this medicine in Hyperthyroid patients like a craving for meat, salty things, cold drinks and ice creams.
Conium Maculatum: For Hyperthyroidism with depression
Conium Maculatum is a very beneficial natural remedy for patients of Hyperthyroidism who are very depressed and donot take any interest in work. The patient gets irritated easily and suffers from weakness of memory. This medicine works well for patients who experience trembling in hands along with perspiration on hands. Conium Maculatum is also a useful cure for menstrual problems faced by women due to Hyperthyroidism where the menses appear late and that too for a short time and are very scanty in nature.