Hyperthyroidism means excess amount of thyroid hormones circulating in the body. This is most commonly due to an overactive thyroid gland or swelling of the thyroid gland. Increased levels of thyroid hormones accelerate your body’s metabolism and can lead to different manifestations.

The symptoms of hyperthyroidism could be-

  • Sudden weight loss inspite of good appetite
  • Rapid heartbeat or pounding of your heart (palpitations)
  • Feeling nervous and irritable
  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Feeling too warm even when other people don’t feel warm
  • Diarrhea
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter)

The causes of this Hyperthyroidism are divided in following types-

  1. Graves’ Disease: Autoimmune disorder (immune system of your body stimulates thyroid). Apart from other symptoms of Hyperthyroidism, this can be associated with eye symptoms like bulging of eyes, redness, discomfort or blurry vision.
  2. Nodular Goiter: Small or large lumps (single or multiple) in your thyroid which can produce excess thyroid hormones.
  3. Thyroiditis: Sometimes thyroid gland gets inflamed or swollen; this leads to spillage of stored thyroid hormones in circulation. This can be accompanied by pain.

Tests/ Investigations:

  1. Blood tests- Your doctor may advise you to do T3, T4, TSH or antibody tests.
  2. Ultrasound of thyroid
  3. Thyroid Nuclear Scan

Treatment: Depending upon the cause and duration of the disease your doctor may advise to undergo any of the following treatments-

  1. Antithyroid Drugs: These medicines act by preventing your thyroid gland from producing excess amounts of hormones. They may be given for 1-3 years.
  2. Radioactive Iodine Ablation: Taken by mouth, radioactive iodine is absorbed by your thyroid gland, where it causes the gland to shrink and symptoms to subside, usually within three to six months.
  3. Surgery: In a Thyroidectomy (removal of thyroid by operation), your doctor removes your thyroid gland.

This webpage is edited by Dr. Varsha Jagtap.

Dr. Varsha is an expert Endocrinologist and is currently working at Pune (Maharashtra) India.