You may experience problems with your eyes or your heart, or develop red, swollen skin on your shins and feet.
You could even have a condition called thyrotoxic crisis, which is a sudden worsening of the disease accompanied by fever, fast pulse, restlessness, agitation, as well as decreased awareness and even mental clarity.
More than 70 percent of hyperthyroidism cases are caused by an autoimmune disorder called Graves’ disease. Autoimmune diseases cause your immune system to attack your own body.
With Grave’s, immune system cells stimulate the thyroid to produce more of its hormones, leading to hyperthyroidism. Grave’s is most common among young women and can also run in families.
It may affect the eyes, pushing them forward and making them appear bulged. It causes them to be dry, red, swollen, and uncomfortable.
Hyperthyroidism can also occur due to a nodule or lump on your thyroid, or an infection that inflames the thyroid gland, causing it to release more of its hormones.
Your doctor can diagnose hyperthyroidism by examining the thyroid and looking for rapid pulse, changes in your eyes, and a slight shaking of your hands.
A blood test can also measure the amount of thyroid hormones in your body. If the results come back positive, your doctor will do a thyroid scan to see if you have Grave’s diseases or any hyperactive nodules or lumps on your thyroid.
Based on your physical condition, age, and cause of hyperthyroidism, your doctor will choose the most appropriate treatment for you. You might be prescribed radioactive iodine, which is a substance that gets absorbed by the overactive thyroid cells and decreases the production of thyroid hormones.
This treatment can diminish your symptoms in three to six months.
Antithyroid medicine can also be prescribed. These pills block the gland’s ability to produce hormones, improving your symptoms in 6-12 weeks. The treatment usually lasts a year.
Your doctor might also recommend surgery and remove a big part of your thyroid gland to prevent excess hormone production.