Have you ever experienced heart palpitations or a feeling of anxiety that comes and goes? It can be a scary experience.
If you have noticed that it happens with any frequency, it is possible you are having a thyroid problem.
People are becoming more familiar with hypothyroidism or anxiety attacks but these symptoms are actually consistent with hyperthyroidism or thyrotoxicosis.
When people think about the thyroid gland they often think about changes in metabolism or weight. This is one of several functions of the thyroid.
In hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland overproduces active thyroid hormone. Too much thyroid hormone can cause a person to feel tired or fatigue, nervous or anxious.
It can cause the patient to have a quickening of the heart or heart palpitations. Some patients report having several bowel movements per day or they have itchy or sweaty skin.
Some people find their hair thinning or falling out or they lose weight suddenly and in an unhealthy way. Oddly some patient may not have any symptoms at all.
The most common form of hyperthyroidism is caused by Graves disease.
Graves disease is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks the thyroid gland. It responds by overproducing the thyroid hormone.
In Graves disease a person may experience protruding eyes (exophthalmos), swelling in the lower legs, and a goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland in the neck).
Symptoms along with blood tests are used to diagnose the problem. The TSH levels will be lower than normal. Essentially the values are close to zero.
There are several medical interventions that include medications, surgical removal or radiation to kill off the over-active cells.
When patients are diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, I recommend that they try naturopathic treatments before looking at surgery or radiation.
Both of those solutions require removal or destruction of part of the gland which is irreversible, and usually sends the patient into a hypothyroid state for the rest of their lives.
My treatment plans for autoimmune thyroid disease are similar whether it is hyperthyroidism or hyperthyroidism.