Tired All the Time? Hyperthyroidism Might Be the Reason
In the midst of your hectic life, you may think it’s normal to feel extra anxiety, an occasional odd flutter in your heart, random shakiness in your hands, or that you seem to feel hotter than usual…
You may write it off as nothing more than a reaction to stress and tell yourself that if you can only rest this weekend, the odd symptoms will go away.
But what if your symptoms are caused by something more than stress from busyness?
Hyperthyroidism, with its many subtle signs, only affects about 1 out of 100 Americans over the age of 12. For those it does touch, the signs and effects are widespread.
This condition could be a hidden reason for your random symptoms. And while it might not be the first thing you’d think of, its extensive impact on health is too significant to dismiss.
What is Hyperthyroidism and What Causes It?
Hyperthyroidism, commonly known as overactive thyroid, occurs when your thyroid produces excessive hormones. And it’s a big deal, because the hormones your thyroid produces, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), influence every cell in your body, regulating functions from heart rate, metabolism, and brain activity to skin health, digestion, and reproduction.
So what causes an overactive thyroid?
Several health conditions can lead to an overactive thyroid, such as:
- Graves’ disease (an autoimmune disorder)
- Benign thyroid nodules
- Inflammation of the thyroid, called thyroiditis
There are also multiple factors that can increase your risk for hyperthyroidism, like:
- Being female
- Family history of thyroid disease
- Type 1 diabetes
- Addison’s disease (primary adrenal insufficiency)
- Pernicious anemia
Surprisingly, even consuming too much iodine, either from certain medications or diet, can trigger hyperthyroidism.
Unchecked hyperthyroidism can have serious repercussions, such as heart problems, osteoporosis, and an increased risk for stroke.
Surprising Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
Because thyroid hormones influence each of your body’s systems, the signs of hyperthyroidism may seem unrelated, but they can include:
- Mood swings
- Unexplained weight loss
- Rapid heart rate
- Increased appetite
- Muscle weakness
- Shakiness / nervousness
- Increased heat sensitivity
- Menstrual changes / lower sex drive
- Vision problems
- Bulging eyes
- Swelling of the thyroid gland in the front of the neck (goiter)
- Trouble sleeping
- Warm, moist skin
- Dry, brittle hair
- Changes in bowel patterns
Diagnosing and Treating Hyperthyroidism
Diagnosis typically begins with a medical history and physical exam, followed by critical lab tests, including TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), T-4, and T-3 levels. If further tests are needed, they could include a nuclear medicine test called a thyroid uptake and scan test, or a thyroid ultrasound.
Once diagnosed, the treatment might involve:
- Anti-thyroid medications that keep the thyroid from producing too much thyroid hormone.
- Beta-blockers can be prescribed temporarily to help with some of the symptoms, although they don’t control the overactive hormone production.
- Radioiodine therapy, where a small dose of radioactive iodine is taken orally, ultimately shrinking the thyroid gland.
- In severe cases, surgery might be the recommended route, to remove all or part of the thyroid gland.
Let Hoag Check Your Thyroid Today
If you recognize any of the above signs of hyperthyroidism, don’t ignore them. With hyperthyroidism, it’s better to be proactive rather than reactive.
At Hoag, our exceptional team is ready and waiting to help you with this condition. Here’s how we can help:
- Make an appointment to begin with foundational lab tests like TSH, T-4, and T-3 at any of our many convenient Orange County locations today. These diagnostic tests, when prescribed, are often covered by your insurance. You can check with your provider for more information.
- And for those interested in personalized healthcare navigation, consider joining our membership program, Hoag Compass, where your very own Care Coordinator will schedule all needed appointments and tests for you. Convenient same day and next-day appointments mean you get your concerns addressed and questions answered, quickly.
- You can even download our convenient mobile app for outstanding care from wherever you are.
Don’t simply write your exhaustion and stress off as tiredness. Get your thyroid checked today at Hoag.