What is Overactive Thyroid?
An overactive thyroid, sometimes referred to as hyperthyroidism, is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. Thyroxine is responsible for regulating many of the body’s functions, so when too much is produced, it can disrupt the body’s natural balance. Having an overactive thyroid can affect any age, gender and race, but is most common among women, particularly those in their 30s and 40s.
Signs and Symptoms of Overactive Thyroid
The main signs and symptoms of overactive thyroid include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Trouble sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sensitivity to heat
- Frequent bowel movements
Causes of Overactive Thyroid
The most common cause of an overactive thyroid is an autoimmune disorder called Grave’s disease. This causes the body to mistakenly attack the thyroid and causes it to become overactive. Other potential causes of an overactive thyroid may be caused by a tumor on the thyroid, inflammation of the thyroid, taking too much synthetic thyroid hormone, or pregnancy.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Overactive Thyroid
Overactive thyroid is typically diagnosed with a blood test to measure levels of thyroxine in the body. Treatment for an overactive thyroid often includes taking antithyroid medication to reduce the amount of thyroxine produced by the thyroid. In some cases, a patient may require surgery or radioactive iodine treatment to stop or shrink the overactive thyroid.
If left untreated, overactive thyroid can lead to serious health complications including heart failure, coma, or even death. Therefore, it is important to see a doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of an overactive thyroid to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment.