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Hyperthyroidism: Introduction

Hyperthyroidism is a disease of the thyroid gland. Hyperthyroidism results in an abnormal overactivity of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located in the front part of the neck, and the thyroid hormone it produces is vital to normal metabolism. In hyperthyroidism the thyroid is stimulated to produce too much thyroid hormone.

Increased production of thyroid hormone in hyperthyroidism leads to a stimulation or quickening of the body's metabolism. This results in symptoms of hyperthyroidism that include nervousness, anxiety, irritability, weight loss, bulging eyes, and hypertension. Hyperthyroidism may also lead to serious, potentially life-threatening complications. For more details on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism is also called Graves' disease. Hyperthyroidism is more common in women than in men. People over the age of fifty who have hypertension or atherosclerosis are at risk for developing hyperthyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism can occur when the thyroid gland is attacked by the body's own immune system and causes it to become overactive and produce too much thyroid hormone. This form of hyperthyroidism is a type of autoimmune thyroid disease.

Hyperthyroidism can also be caused by the growth of a thyroid nodule on the thyroid gland. A thyroid nodule is a noncancerous cyst that produces additional thyroid hormone, resulting in high levels of thyroid hormone.

Making a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism begins with taking a thorough medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination. A physician or health care provider may feel larger than normal thyroid gland or goiter in the neck.

A blood test is performed to determine levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and the thyroid hormone thyroxine. Low levels of TSH and high levels of thyroxine indicate that a thyroid gland is overactive and may indicate a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism.

A nuclear scan of the thyroid may also be done to visualize the thyroid gland and determine how it is affected by hyperthyroidism.

Other tests may be performed to check for potential complications of hyperthyroidism, such as heart disease. A chest X-ray may be done to evaluate the size of the heart and to check for fluid accumulation in the lungs that can occur with heart failure. An EKG may be done to diagnose abnormal heart rhythms.

It is possible that a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism can be missed or delayed because symptoms can be associated with other conditions, such as excessive caffeine use, angina, aging or stress. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of hyperthyroidism.

Prompt diagnosis and treatment of hyperthyroidism can result in a good prognosis, and even a cure in some cases. With regular medical care and monitoring of hyperthyroidism, many people with the disease live active, normal life spans. Treatment of hyperthyroidism can include medication and surgery. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of hyperthyroidism. ...more »

Hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism refers to excess secretion of thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland. It is also called "thyrotoxicosis". One common type of hyperthyroidism is Graves' disease, which is an autoimmune disease. ...more »

Hyperthyroidism: Symptoms

The types and severity of symptoms of hyperthyroidism can vary between individuals. Symptoms are the result of an increased production of thyroid hormone, which leads to a stimulation or quickening of the body's metabolism.

Typical symptoms include anxiety, shaky hands, sweating, diarrhea, difficulty sleeping, increased appetite, tremors, and weight loss. Some people with ...more symptoms »

Hyperthyroidism: Treatments

There is no way to prevent hyperthyroidism. However, with prompt recognition and treatment, high levels of thyroid hormone can be returned to normal levels in the body. With regular medical care and monitoring of hyperthyroidism, many people live active, normal life spans.

Hyperthyroidism may be treated with medications called beta blockers, which can minimize some ...more treatments »

Hyperthyroidism: Misdiagnosis

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 ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

Treatments for Hyperthyroidism

Home Diagnostic Testing

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Wrongly Diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism: Related Patient Stories

Hyperthyroidism: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Hyperthyroidism.

Alternative Treatments for Hyperthyroidism

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed in various sources as possibly beneficial for Hyperthyroidism may include:

Types of Hyperthyroidism

Curable Types of Hyperthyroidism

Possibly curable types of Hyperthyroidism include:

Rare Types of Hyperthyroidism:

Rare types of Hyperthyroidism include:

  • McCune Albright syndrome related hyperthyroidism
  • Viral thyroiditis related hyperthyroidism
  • Pituitary adenoma related hyperthyroidism
  • Iodine induced hyperthyroidism
  • Childhood Grave's disease
  • Neonatal Grave's disease
  • Plummer disease related hyperthyroidism
  • more types...»

Diagnostic Tests for Hyperthyroidism

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Hyperthyroidism: Complications

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Causes of Hyperthyroidism

More information about causes of Hyperthyroidism:

Disease Topics Related To Hyperthyroidism

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Hyperthyroidism:

Hyperthyroidism: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis 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 more »

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 more »

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, more »

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 more »

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 more »

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 more »

Thyroid disorders greatly under-diagnosed: One study found that about 10% of people had undiagnosed thyroid disorders, mostly hyperthyroidism, but also hypothyroidism. The more »

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 more »

Hyperthyroidism: Research Doctors & Specialists

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Hospitals & Clinics: Hyperthyroidism

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Hyperthyroidism:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Hyperthyroidism, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Hyperthyroidism: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Latest Treatments for Hyperthyroidism

Research about Hyperthyroidism

Visit our research pages for current research about Hyperthyroidism treatments.

Clinical Trials for Hyperthyroidism

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Hyperthyroidism include:

Prevention of Hyperthyroidism

Prevention information for Hyperthyroidism has been compiled from various data sources and may be inaccurate or incomplete. None of these methods guarantee prevention of Hyperthyroidism.

Statistics for Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism: Broader Related Topics

Hyperthyroidism Message Boards

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User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Hyperthyroidism, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Article Excerpts about Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone and makes the body use more energy than it should. Symptoms may include nervousness, irritability, shaky hands, increased perspiration, warm skin, thinning hair, weight loss, decreased menstruation, eye changes, and weak leg muscles. Grave's disease is the most common form of hyperthyroidism. It is an autoimmune condition in which the body produces antibodies that overstimulate the thyroid gland, so that it produces too much thyroid hormone. (Source: excerpt from Thyroid Disease: NWHIC)

Definitions of Hyperthyroidism:

The clinical syndrome that reflects the response of the peripheral tissues to an excess of thyroid hormone. - (Source - Diseases Database)

An overactive thyroid gland; pathologically excessive production of thyroid hormones or the condition resulting from excessive production of thyroid hormones - (Source - WordNet 2.1)


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