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What is Hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism Explained

Hyperthyroidism refers to a health condition that affects the thyroid gland, that hormone-producing gland situated beneath the neck, directly under our Adam’s apple. This thyroid gland is responsible for the production of two related thyroid hormones with iodine content, and they are thyroxine and tri-iodothyronine, which are the necessary agents to regulate the body’s metabolism (the rate at which our system convert energy from our food source that includes nutrients for example). These are also required to control oxygen intake by our various body organs as well as body heat generation.

This manufacturing of hormones by the thyroid gland is in turn regulated by another hormone-producing gland, the pituitary gland, which sits just under the brain. In details, this pituitary gland produces a hormone, called TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) which is used to stimulate the thyroid gland and make it more active in order to encourage the increased production of thyroid hormones. Conversely, when the levels of thyroid hormones within our bloodstream are sufficiently high, the production of TSH by pituitary gland is stopped, and it is back to usual business for the thyroid gland.

When a patient suffers hyperthyroidism, this delicate balance between the activities of both the pituitary gland and the thyroid gland are severely affected. As a result, the thyroid gland becomes overactive and excessive amounts of hormones are produced along the way.

The different causes of hyperthyroidism.

Grave’s disease is by far the most commonly observed culprit. It is an autoimmune disease that triggers our immune system to produces an antibody with TSH-like activity. Put in another way, the antibody produced now replicates the function of pituitary TSH, and providing ample stimulation to the thyroid gland, which in turn manufactures and excretes (in an uncontrolled manner) even more thyroid hormones. Some other causes noted for hyperthyroidism include thyroid or pituitary tumors, the inflammation of the thyroid gland (called thyroiditis), excessive iodine intake and overuse of thyroid hormone medication.

Since our thyroid hormones ultimately influence all the body organs, hyperthyroidism symptoms are usually manifested through our body systems and functions and they are: weight loss, muscle weakness, fatigue, rapid heartbeat, diarrhea, intolerance to heat, vision problems, hand tremors and irritability.

The cause and the severity of the hyperthyroidism condition would determine on the type of treatment necessary. Common treatment options involve the use of anti-thyroid medications and/or beta-blockers, radio-iodine therapy and thyroid surgery. Invariably all these approaches are designed to restore thyroid hormone levels while preventing further complications to the body, things like heart failure and osteoporosis. Anti-thyroid medications therapy is often the first to be called on for treatment, but it is generally believed that it does not bring about permanent results, and patients are made to continue with this therapy for long time (2 or more years). Conversely, both the treatment* with radioactive iodine and thyroid surgery have demonstrated permanent results, but both of them could potentially lead to the opposite thyroid condition (hypothyroidism). In anyway, this side effect is generally acceptable as hypothyroidism is considered a less serious condition and it can be treated fairly easily.

In order to protect yourself and your relatives from this dreadful condition, it is prudent that you want to invest in a proper international health insurance plan, so as to defray any associated cost for the treatment and also its possible complications before hyperthyroidism sets in.