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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 advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) 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 advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Current as of: March 1, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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