“Why don’t you just relax a little?” Is this a familiar question? Oh, if they only knew. You sleep
four hours a night. You eat whatever you want but always feel like you’re too thin. Sitting
through a movie with your family is impossible. Your house is spotless, not because you’re a
neat freak but because there’s nothing else to do at 3 AM when the rest of the house is
sleeping. Your performance at work goes above and beyond. Some may view hyperthyroidism
as a gift but only those with it know what a curse it can be.
The Skinny on Hyperthyroidism
The flip side of the coin from hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism comes with its own unique set
of complicated symptoms. Unlike its sluggish counterpart, hyperthyroidism is the result of an
overactive thyroid gland. This means it produces too much T 4 and T 3 , both hormones that help
regulate all of your body’s processes. While hyperthyroidism can be caused by a number of
issues, the most common is a condition called Graves’ disease.
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that your body erroneously produces an
antibody known as TSI (thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin) which attacks the thyroid and, as a
result, causes it to create and release too much thyroid hormone. Graves’ disease is typically
genetic and is more prominently diagnosed in women than men.
Another cause of hyperthyroidism is the presence of a multinodular or toxic goiter in the
thyroid gland. A goiter is a collection of lumps or nodules growing in the thyroid gland that
stimulate it to produce excessive quantities of thyroid hormones. Goiters can grow quite large
and cause other issues, such as airway restriction or difficulty swallowing.
Rapid heartbeat with or without heart palpitations
Light or absent periods
More frequent bowel movements
Dry skin and/or hair
Bulging of the eyes (more advanced, untreated hyperthyroidism)
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