These health problems can put your thyroid into overdrive.
One of the most important organs in your body is your thyroid gland. It releases hormones that regulate your body’s energy or metabolic rate. This controls many of your body’s processes, from heart function to brain development. However, certain health conditions or disorders can lead to something called hyperthyroidism. This is when the thyroid produces too many hormones.
Because thyroid hormones affect so many parts of your body, hyperthyroidism may bring a myriad of health problems in the short and long term. To put it simply, excessive thyroid hormones may have a significant impact in your daily life.
Disorders That May Cause Hyperthyroidism
The three main kinds of disorders that can lead to hyperthyroidism are:
1. Graves' disease
Graves’ disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. It’s an autoimmune disorder, which basically means your immune system attacks the thyroid. This causes it to release too much thyroid hormone.
Graves’ disease can affect your health in many ways. One complication is thyroid eye disease, or Graves’ orbitopathy. This can affect a person’s vision, cause eye pain and discomfort, or lead to changes in the appearance of the eyes.
2. Overactive thyroid nodules
Thyroid nodules are abnormal solid or fluid-filled bumps. Usually, thyroid nodules are benign (not cancerous), but they still can cause health problems. For example, a thyroid nodule that grows on the thyroid gland can cause hyperthyroidism. These are known as overactive thyroid nodules, or toxic thyroid nodules.
Overactive thyroid nodules may lead to excessive production of a thyroid hormone called thyroxine. Extra thyroxine production can cause symptoms like:
- Unintentional and unexplained weight loss
- Increased sweating and heat intolerance
- Irregular heartbeat and palpitations
- Nervousness and irritability
Thyroiditis is a general word for inflammation of the thyroid. Reasons for thyroiditis are often an autoimmune condition, but it can also stem from a virus or other infection.
If you’re suffering from any of these conditions or think you may be, talk to an endocrinologist. They can help you get tested, come up with the appropriate course of action, and come up with the best care plan for you.
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