Home » Columnists » What is hyper- thyroidism? (Part II)

What is hyper- thyroidism? (Part II)

Manjula Raguthu MD,FAAFP,ABAARM

Manjula Raguthu MD,FAAFP,ABAARM

Continued from last week

Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid disease, means your thyroid gland makes and releases too much thyroid hormone. The thyroid gland is located in the front of your neck, just below your Adam’s apple. It makes hormones that control your metabolism. Metabolism is the pace of your body’s processes and includes things like your heart rate and how quickly you burn calories.
Hyperthyroidism can affect your metabolism. It can also cause nervousness, increased perspiration (sweatiness), rapid heartbeat, hand tremors, difficulty sleeping and weight loss.
Hyperthyroidism usually begins slowly, so its symptoms can be mistaken for stress or other health problems. It can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
• Surgery. Hyperthyroidism can be treated with a surgery (called a thyroidectomy) in which your doctor removes most of your thyroid gland. After surgery, you will likely develop hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid disease). You will then need to take a thyroid hormone supplement to restore your hormone levels to normal.
• Beta blockers. No matter what other method of treatment you use, your physician may prescribe a beta blocker drug to slow your heart rate and reduce palpitations, shaking and nervousness until your thyroid levels are closer to normal.
If it is not treated, hyperthyroidism can lead to other health problems. They include:
l Heart problems. A rapid heart rate, a heart rhythm disorder (called atrial fibrillation) or congestive heart failure can result.
l Brittle bones (osteoporosis). Too much thyroid hormone can interfere with your body’s ability to incorporate calcium into your bones. Be sure to get enough calcium in your diet to prevent osteoporosis.
l Eye problems due to Graves’ opthalmopathy. To relieve the symptoms of Graves’ opthalmopathy:
l Apply cool compresses to your eyes
l Wear sunglasses
l Use lubricating eyedrops
l Elevate the head of your bed to reduce blood flow to your head
• Red, swollen skin on the shins and feet due to Graves’ disease. Try using over-the-counter creams containing hydrocortisone for relief.
• Thyrotoxic crisis. A sudden worsening of hyperthyroidism symptoms that leads to a fever, rapid pulse and even delirium (symptoms of which can include decreased awareness and mental clarity, restlessness and agitation). See a doctor right away if this occurs.
• Questions for to ask your physicians
• What is the likely cause of my hyperthyroidism?
• Do I have Graves’ disease?
• What are the results of my blood test(s)? What do these results mean?
• What is the best treatment option? Will I need medicine? For how long?
• Will I need surgery?
• What risks are associated with these treatment options?
• When can I expect relief from my symptoms?
• Am I at risk for any complications? What can I do to minimize the risk of complications?
Dr. Manjula Raguthu has been a family physician for 26 years. She is specialized in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Medical Association, American Physicians of Indian Origin, Texas Academy of family Physicians and American Anti-Aging Academy. She takes a holistic approach to health, uses Bio identical hormones and integrative therapies to achieve optimal health for her patients. Visit www.medwinfamily.com for more details.

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