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Hyperthyroidism: Putting It All Together

Sunday, April 21, 2013 - 17:41
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Here is a summary of the important facts and information related to hyperthyroidism:

  • Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which there is overproduction of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland.
  • Symptoms of hyperthyroidism may include a rapid heartbeat, tremor of the fingers and hands, weight loss, and the inability to tolerate heat.
  • The most common form of hyperthyroidism is Graves’ disease, a condition resulting from a problem with the body's immune system. Some families have a tendency toward developing Graves’ disease. About 95 percent of individuals with hyperthyroidism have this form of the disease.
  • About 30 percent of people with Graves’ disease have associated eye disease, which may cause significant changes in vision along with eyes that bulge or protrude from the face.
  • The three major treatment options for hyperthyroidism-medication, radioactive iodine, and surgery-work by decreasing the amount of thyroid hormone produced.
  • The effect of antithyroid drugs stops when treatment is discontinued, allowing the individual to switch to another treatment plan if necessary.
  • Therapy with radioactive iodine permanently destroys thyroid tissue, meaning that too much thyroid will no longer be produced. The main disadvantage to this type of treatment is that hypothyroidism (low levels of thyroid hormone) may result. However, hypothyroidism is treatable.
  • Surgery to remove almost all of the thyroid gland is called thyroidectomy and brings rapid permanent control of hyperthyroidism.
  • Most people feel much better after treatment for hyperthyroidism is complete, but thyroid hormone levels still need to be checked periodically throughout a person’s lifetime.
  • Most pregnant women and their babies will not experience significant problems if the disease is mild to moderate.

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