Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland makes too much thyroid hormone. This speeds up your metabolism—how your body uses energy. This condition can cause you to be very active, lose weight, and have sleep problems, eye problems, and a fast heart rate. It can also cause a goiter. A goiter is an enlarged thyroid gland that you can see at the front of the neck.
Hyperthyroidism is often caused by Graves' disease. In Graves' disease, the body's defence (immune) system attacks the thyroid gland.
Your doctor may prescribe a beta-blocker medicine to slow your pulse and calm you down. But this is not a treatment for hyperthyroidism. It is given for your fast heart rate. Your doctor may also give you antithyroid medicine. This medicine keeps excess thyroid hormone in check. In some cases, doctors recommend radioactive iodine or surgery to remove the thyroid. After either of these treatments, you may need to take medicine to replace thyroid hormone for the rest of your life.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: March 15, 2018
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
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