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Misdiagnosis of Hyperthyroidism

Misdiagnosis of Hyperthyroidism

A diagnosis of hyperthyroidism may be delayed or missed because some symptoms, such as nervousness, irritability fatigue, weight gain, muscle aches and weakness can be ambiguous and/or mild. These symptoms can be easily attributed to other conditions, such as excessive coffee drinking, aging, stress, anxiety, excessive exercise, lack of exercise, perimenopause, cold weather or the side effects of medications....more about Hyperthyroidism »

Hyperthyroidism misdiagnosis: Hyperthyroidism may be mistaken for underactive goiter (enlarged but not producing excess thyroid hormone) if there are no other symptoms and thyroid hormone levels are not investigated....more about Hyperthyroidism »

Alternative diagnoses list for Hyperthyroidism:

For a diagnosis of Hyperthyroidism, the following list of conditions have been mentioned in sources as possible alternative diagnoses to consider during the diagnostic process for Hyperthyroidism:

Diseases for which Hyperthyroidism may be an alternative diagnosis

The other diseases for which Hyperthyroidism is listed as a possible alternative diagnosis in their lists include:

Hyperthyroidism: Hidden Causes Misdiagnosed?

Causes of Hyperthyroidism may include these medical conditions:

Rare Types of Hyperthyroidism:

Hyperthyroidism: Medical Mistakes

Related medical mistakes may include:

Hyperthyroidism: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed conditions in related areas may include:

Common Misdiagnoses and Hyperthyroidism

Cluster of diseases with difficult diagnosis issues: There is a well-known list of medical conditions that are all somewhat difficult to diagnose, and all can present in a variety of different severities. Diseases in this group include multiple sclerosis, lupus, Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, thyroid disorders (hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism), chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes - all of these can have vague symptoms in their early presentations. Also, depression can have some symptoms similar to these conditions, and also the reverse, that many of these conditions can mimic depression and be misdiagnosed as depression.

Alzheimer's disease over-diagnosed: The well-known disease of Alzheimer's disease is often over-diagnosed. Patients tend to assume that any memory loss or forgetulness symptom might be Alzheimer's, whereas there are many other less severe possibilities. Some level of memory decline is normal with aging, and even a slight loss of acuity may be noticed in the 30's and 40's. Other conditions can also lead a person to show greater forgetfulness. For example, depression and depressive disorders can cause a person to have reduced concentration and thereby poorer memory retention.

Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for a patient to show mental decline to dementia. Whereas this can, of course, occur due to various medical conditions, such as a stroke or Alzheimer's disease, it can also occur from a side effect or interaction between multiple drugs that the elderly patient may be taking. There are also various other possible causes of dementia.

Rare type of breast cancer without a lump: There is a less common form of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer. Its symptoms can be an inflammation of the breast tissue, such as with a breast rash with redness and warmth, but not necessarily a physical breast lump. This type of breast cancer should be considered as an uncommon possibility for certain types of breast symptoms.

Tremor need not be Parkinson's disease: There is the tendency to believe that any tremor symptom, or shakiness, means Parkinson's disease. The reality is that there are various possibilities, such as benign essential tremor, which is mostly harmless. see the various causes of tremor and misdiagnosis of Parkinson's disease.

Rare diseases misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease: A rare genetic disorder is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease for men in their 50's. The disease Fragile X disorder can show only mild symptoms in the early years, and Parkinsons-like symptoms around age 50. See misdiagnosis of Parkinson's disease.

Thyroid disorders greatly under-diagnosed: One study found that about 10% of people had undiagnosed thyroid disorders, mostly hyperthyroidism, but also hypothyroidism. The symptoms of thyroid disorders are often mild, making the symptoms easy to overlook, or misdiagnose as another less serious condition. See symptoms of thyroid disorders or misdiagnosis of thyroid disorders.

Misdiagnosed weight-related causes of infertility: A woman's weight status can affect her level of fertility. Although obesity or overweight can in themselves reduce fertility, there are other weight-related or associated medical conditions that further reduce fertility. Some of these hidden causes include COPD, diabetes, thyroid disorders (overactive thyroid or underactive thyroid) and metabolic syndrome. See also other causes of infertility.

Hyperthyroidism: Rare Types

Rare types of medical disorders and diseases in related medical areas:

Failure To Diagnose Hyperthyroidism

Failure to diagnose Hyperthyroidism may be associated with the following:

  • Severe, undiagnosed and untreated hyperthyroidism can result in potentially fatal myxedema coma
  • Elderly patients are at a greater risk of having their hyperthyroidism undiagnosed as they often present only with atrial fibrillation, heart failure, weakness and weight loss which may be attributed to aging or heart disease
  • Subclinical hyperthyroidism produces no clinical symptoms and is usually only discovered incidentally and there is some disagreement as to whether these patients warrant treatment. However, the risks of not treating the patient include atrial fibrillation in older people and osteoporosis in post menopausal women

Notes On Hidden Causes Of Hyperthyroidism

The following may be hidden causes of Hyperthyroidism:

  • Treatment for hypothyroidism may result in the thyroid gland producing too much thyroid hormone (factitial hyperthyroidism). Some patients take thyroid preparations to increase weight loss which can lead to hyperthyroidism
  • Less common underlying causes of hyperthyroidism are trophoblastic tumors, pituitary TSH-secreting tumor, toxic multinodular goiter, toxic thyroid adenoma, thyroiditis and postpartum thyroiditis. Rare cases may be caused by uncommon tumors such as metastatic follicular thyroid cancer and thyroxine-producing ovarian cancer
  • Certain medication may be the hidden cause of hyperthyroidism e.g. excess thyroid hormone use, excess iodine exposure through diet, radiocontrast material and amiodarone

Notes On Wrong Diagnosis Of Hyperthyroidism

Wrong diagnosis of Hyperthyroidism may be associated with the following:

  • The early stages of hyperthyroidism often presents as nervousness and possible weight loss which may be misdiagnosed as being caused by stress
  • The symptoms of Grave's disease may be similar to other conditions which may lead to misdiagnosis. These conditions include anxiety, menopause, pheochromocytoma, drug abuse, drug withdrawal, myopathies, thyroid hormone ingestion and hypoglycemia. Hashimoto's thyroiditis as well as Grave's disease may cause enlargement of the thyroid gland
  • The restlessness, personality change, tremulousness and mental disturbance caused by Grave's disease may be misdiagnosed as anxiety neurosis
  • The hot flashes, emotional instability and amenorrhea sometimes associated with Grave's disease may be misdiagnosed as menopause
  • Pheochromocytoma and Grave's disease may cause symptoms such as rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure and paradoxical sweating
  • Drug abuse or withdrawal and Grave's disease may cause agitation, rapid heart rate and personality change
  • Myopathies and Grave's disease may cause muscle weakness and weight loss
  • The insomnia and irritability associated with Grave's disease may be misdiagnosed as a sleep disorder
  • Hyperthyroidism is often overlooked as a possible cause of panic attacks and the patient may be misdiagnosed simply with a panic disorder
  • A rapid heart beat and cardialgia (localized pain in the heart region) may be caused by hyperthyroidism but may be misdiagnosed as heart disease
  • Symptoms such as anxiety, mood changes and excitability may be cause by hyperthyroidism but may be misdiagnosed as a mental disease
  • Menstrual abnormalities and increased sweating may be caused by hyperthyroidism but may be attributed to menopause
  • Muscle wasting and weakness may be a result of hyperthyroidism but may be misdiagnosed as a muscle or neural disease
  • Vitiligo and itchy skin due to hyperthyroidism may be misdiagnosed as some other skin condition
  • Fine tremors associated with hyperthyroidism may be misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease
  • Acute intermittent porphyria and hyperthyroidism share some common symptoms which may lead to misdiagnosis. These symptoms include muscle weakness, hypertension, nervousness and heart rate abnormalities. Sometimes the two conditions may coexist which often leads to one of them being overlooked initially
  • Some people may be misdiagnosed initially as having hyperthyroidism or having a goiter when a physical examination indicates an enlarged thyroid gland. The false impression that the thyroid gland is enlarged may occur when: the thyroid is located slightly higher than normal; a long curved neck can make the thyroid more prominent; a lesion behind the thyroid may push it forward; enlargement of tissues or structures around the thyroid may be mistaken for the thyroid; and finally the thyroid gland may be more prominent in thin people. Conversely, a false negative result for a goiter (thyroid gland enlargement) may occur when: the patient's neck is short and thick; unusually placed thyroid; or an inadequate palpation of the thyroid area
  • Children with hyperthyroidism may present mainly with excessive growth and behavioural problems which may lead to the condition being undiagnosed or misdiagnosed

Other Notes On Misdiagnosis Of Hyperthyroidism

  • Graves' disease is often associated with other autoimmune conditions such as myasthenia gravis, diabetes mellitus and pernicious anemia

Medical news summaries about misdiagnosis of Hyperthyroidism:

The following medical news items are relevant to misdiagnosis of Hyperthyroidism:

General Misdiagnosis Articles

Read these general articles with an overview of misdiagnosis issues.

About misdiagnosis:

When checking for a misdiagnosis of Hyperthyroidism or confirming a diagnosis of Hyperthyroidism, it is useful to consider what other medical conditions might be possible misdiagnoses or other alternative conditions relevant to diagnosis. These alternate diagnoses of Hyperthyroidism may already have been considered by your doctor or may need to be considered as possible alternative diagnoses or candidates for misdiagnosis of Hyperthyroidism. For a general overview of misdiagnosis issues for all diseases, see Overview of Misdiagnosis.


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