Can Hyperthyroidism Be Cured
Yes, there is a permanent treatment for hyperthyroidism. Removing your thyroid through surgery or destroying your thyroid through medication will cure hyperthyroidism. However, once your thyroid is removed or destroyed, youll need to take thyroid hormone replacement medications for the rest of your life. Your body still needs thyroid hormones, just not at such high levels as you have in hyperthyroidism. Though you’ll need to take the medication and check in with your healthcare provider regularly, this is a manageable form of thyroid disease.
What Conditions And Disorders Affect The Thyroid
There are several different types of thyroid disease. Thyroid disease is very common, with an estimated 20 million people in the United States having some type of thyroid disorder. Women and people assigned female at birth are about five to eight times more likely to be diagnosed with a thyroid condition than men and people assigned male at birth .
Thyroid diseases are split into two types: primary and secondary.
In primary thyroid disease, the disease originates in your thyroid gland. In secondary thyroid disease, the disease originates in your pituitary gland. As an example, if you have a nodule on your thyroid thats releasing excess amounts of thyroid hormones, it would be called primary hyperthyroidism. If a tumor in your pituitary gland is releasing excess amounts of thyroid-stimulating hormone , which then stimulates your thyroid to produce excess thyroid hormones, it would be called secondary hyperthyroidism.
The four main conditions that affect your thyroid include:
- Postpartum thyroiditis .
- Excess iodine in your blood from diet and/or medication.
- Over-treatment of hypothyroidism through medication.
- A benign tumor in your pituitary gland.
Goiter is an enlargement of your thyroid gland. Goiters are relatively common they affect approximately 5% of people in the United States
Goiters have different causes, depending on their type.
Thyroid cancer is classified based on the type of cells from which cancer grows. Thyroid cancer types include:
Hypothyroidism Vs Hyperthyroidism: Whats The Difference
Were you recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism? If so, youre likely aware your bodys thyroid gland is underactive. And youre probably all too familiar with some of the associated symptoms like tiredness, constipation, and forgetfulness. These symptoms are frustrating. But with the right treatment plan, they can become manageable.
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Where Is The Thyroid Located
Your thyroid gland is located in the front of your neck, straddling your windpipe . Its shaped like a butterfly smaller in the middle with two wide wings that extend around the side of your throat. A healthy thyroid gland is not usually visible from the outside , and you cant feel it when you press your finger to the front of your neck.
What Are The Treatment Options For An Overactive Thyroid
An overactive thyroid can be treated with medication, surgery or radioactive iodine. The most suitable treatment option will mainly depend on the cause of the disease.
If the thyroid gland makes too many hormones and releases them into the bloodstream, it can lead to things like weight loss, nervous restlessness and a rapid heartbeat. An overactive thyroid can have various underlying causes. The most common of these is called Graves disease. It also often develops if cells in the thyroid gland start making too many hormones “autonomously” in other words, without being instructed to by the pituitary gland, which is normally the case. These autonomous cells are either found in nodules or spread throughout the whole gland.
Mild hyperthyroidism may get better on its own, without treatment. In most cases, though, the symptoms get worse without treatment. Taking medication is sometimes enough to keep the symptoms under control. But they usually only go away completely in the long term if treated with surgery or radioactive iodine .
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How Are Thyroid Conditions Treated
There are several treatment options for thyroid conditions depending on what the conditions are and how severe they are. The three main options for treatment include:
Medications for thyroid conditions include:
- Antithyroid medications: These medications block the ability of your thyroid to make hormones. Healthcare providers may prescribe this for hyperthyroidism.
- Beta-blockers: These medications help treat symptoms of hyperthyroidism, such as rapid heartbeat, but they do not treat the thyroid condition itself.
- Radioactive iodine: This medication damages thyroid cells, eventually leading to the destruction of your thyroid gland. This is a treatment option for hyperthyroidism and thyroid cancer.
- Thyroid hormone medications: These medications are a synthetic form of thyroid hormones for the treatment of hypothyroidism. People who have a thyroidectomy or a nonfunctioning thyroid from radioactive iodine usually need to take these medications for the rest of their life.
The most common type of surgery associated with thyroid conditions is a thyroidectomy. A thyroidectomy is the surgical removal of your entire thyroid gland. Thyroidectomy is one of the treatment options for thyroid disease and is the first-line treatment for thyroid cancer.
Another surgery option is a lobectomy, which involves removing only a part of your thyroid.
Radiation therapy and chemotherapy
How Are Thyroid Problems Diagnosed
Usually patients with thyroid disease see their doctor when they develop any of the signs or symptoms above. Based on that, plus a physical exam, the next step is to get blood work done.
A blood test for thyroid stimulating hormone is the best screening test for thyroid problems. Because TSH stimulates production of your thyroid hormones, TSH is high when your body is not making enough thyroid hormone and low when it makes too much . Blood tests can also show levels of antibodies in the case of Hashimotos thyroiditis or Graves disease. Your body produces antibodies to fight off foreign invaders such as viruses or bacteria, and antibodies in your blood could mean that your body is treating your thyroid as a threat.
Depending on what those tests show, your doctor may want to get a scan of your thyroid gland. Ultrasound is a commonly used imaging method, especially for hyperthyroidism.
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Hyperthyroidism Signs And Symptoms
- Fine, brittle hair
- Changes in your menstrual cycle
If youâre an older adult, youâre more likely to have subtle symptoms like a faster heart rate or being more sensitive to warm temperatures. Or you could just feel more tired after everyday activities.
Certain medicines can mask the signs of hyperthyroidism. If you take beta-blockers to treat high blood pressure or another condition, you might not know you have it. Be sure your doctor knows about all the medications you take.
When you first get hyperthyroidism, you may feel energetic. This is because your metabolism is sped up. But over time, this increase in your metabolism can break your body down and cause you to feel tired.
Usually, hyperthyroidism develops slowly. If youâre young when you get it, the symptoms might come on suddenly.
What Are The Complications Of Hyperthyroidism
Untreated, hyperthyroidism can cause serious health problems, including
- an irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related problems
- an eye disease called Graves ophthalmopathy
- thinning bones, osteoporosis, and muscle problems
- menstrual cycle and fertility issues
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The Differences Between Hypothyroidism And Hyperthyroidism
Hypothyroidism causes symptoms like slowed metabolism, tiredness, and weight gain. Having an underactive thyroid can decrease or slow down your bodily functions.
With hyperthyroidism, you may find yourself with more energy, as opposed to less. You may experience weight loss as opposed to weight gain. And you may feel anxious as opposed to depressed.
The most common difference between the two diseases relates to hormone levels. Hypothyroidism leads to a decrease in hormones. Hyperthyroidism leads to an increase in hormone production.
In the United States, hypothyroidism is more common than hyperthyroidism. However, its not uncommon to have an overactive thyroid and then an underactive thyroid, or vice versa. Finding a skilled doctor who specializes in the thyroid, typically an endocrinologist, is an important part of your treatment plan.
Last medically reviewed on February 17, 2016
- Golden S. H., Robinson K. A., Saldanha I., Anton B., & Ladenson P. W. . Prevalence and incidence of endocrine and metabolic disorders in the United States: a comprehensive review, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 94, 18531878
- Mayo Clinic Staff. . Graves disease
- Mayo Clinic Staff. . Hyperthyroidism : Causes
Emotional And Mental Problems
With hyperthyroidism, the nervous system always operates with heightened alertness. People with overactive thyroid often have a sense of being in mental overdrive. This leads to nervousness, irritability, tremors and anxiety. It also contributes to sleep problems and inability to relax and wind down. These mental and emotional symptoms can mimic forms of mental illness. Effective thyroid treatment can calm your overworked brain and help you think clearly again.
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How Is Graves’ Disease Diagnosed
Graves’ disease is diagnosed based on a visit with a doctor who will review the symptoms and examine the patient.
It’s important to do lab tests too, because many people can have some of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism for other reasons. Sometimes the blood tests aren’t enough to be sure of the diagnosis and other tests are needed, like a thyroid scan or ultrasound.
What Is The Endocrine System
Your endocrine system is a network of several glands that create and secrete hormones.
A gland is an organ that makes one or more substances, such as hormones, digestive juices, sweat or tears. Endocrine glands release hormones directly into the bloodstream.
Hormones are chemicals that coordinate different functions in your body by carrying messages through your blood to your organs, skin, muscles and other tissues. These signals tell your body what to do and when to do it.
The following organs and glands make up your endocrine system:
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What Are Clinical Trials For Hyperthyroidism
Clinical trialsand other types of clinical studiesare part of medical research and involve people like you. When you volunteer to take part in a clinical study, you help doctors and researchers learn more about disease and improve health care for people in the future.
Researchers are studying many aspects of hyperthyroidism, such as its natural history, clinical presentation, and genetics.
Watch a video of NIDDK Director Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers explaining the importance of participating in clinical trials.
How Are Hyperthyroidism And Hypothyroidism Treated
The treatment of hyperthyroidism starts with symptoms. Beta blockers such as propranolol , atenolol , metoprolol , and nadolol are commonly prescribed to help with symptoms. These drugs can slow heart rate, decrease tremors, and improve irritability.
Other treatments depend on the cause of hyperthyroidism. Options include methimazole , which is considered an antithyroid drug because it blocks new hormone production. It is a nonsurgical option if you have Graves disease. However, if youre in your first trimester of pregnancy, you might receive propylthiouracil instead due to risks to the fetus. Propylthiouracil can lower how much hormone your thyroid produces.
Hypothyroidism is commonly treated with supplemental thyroid hormone. The synthetic version is called L-thyroxine or levothyroxine . Levothyroxine is prescribed more commonly than the old treatment called desiccated thyroid extract, which comes from animals.
Levothyroxine is usually taken first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Your doctor will select a dose based on your age and weight, then monitor your TSH periodically to see if it needs to be adjusted. The goal is to get your TSH back in the normal range and improve your symptoms.
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Who Is More Likely To Develop Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism is more common in women and people older than 60.2 You are more likely to have hyperthyroidism if you
- have a family history of thyroid disease
- have other health problems, including
- pernicious anemia, a condition caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency
- primary adrenal insufficiency, a disorder of hormones
What Does My Thyroid Do
Located at the front of your neck, the thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland. Glands are organs that can be found all over your body. Some of your glands create and release hormones substances that help your body function and grow. The thyroid gland plays a big part in many of your bodys main functions, including:
- Regulating your body temperature.
- Controlling your heart rate.
- Controlling your metabolism .
When your thyroid gland is working correctly, your body is in balance, and all of your systems function properly. If your thyroid stops working the way its meant to creating too much or too little thyroid hormones it can impact your entire body.
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What Is The Thyroid
Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of your neck under your skin. Its a part of your endocrine system and controls many of your bodys important functions by producing and releasing certain hormones. Your thyroids main job is to control the speed of your metabolism , which is the process of how your body transforms the food you consume into energy. All of the cells in your body need energy to function.
When your thyroid isnt working properly, it can impact your entire body.
How Big Is The Thyroid
Your thyroid is about 2 inches long. A healthy thyroid usually does not stick out from your throat and you cant see it by looking at your neck.
However, certain conditions can cause your thyroid to become enlarged. This is known as goiter. If you have a goiter, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Swelling in the front of your neck, just below the Adam’s apple.
- A feeling of tightness in your throat area.
- A change in your voice, such as hoarseness .
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What Happens If You Have An Overactive Thyroid
If you suspect you have an overactive thyroid, get in touch with your GP for an appointment.
From here, theyll then ask you about the symptoms youve been experiencing, before booking you in for a blood test to try and determine whether you do have an overactive thyroid or not.
If the blood tests show that you do have an overactive thyroid, theres a chance youll be booked in for further tests to identify the cause.
Or, youll receive information on how to treat an overactive thyroid so you can make a more informed decision about what you want to do next.
Are There Complications Of Hyperthyroidism
Thyroid storm is a rare but serious complication of hyperthyroidism. It happens when your thyroid makes and releases a large amount of thyroid hormone in a short amount of time. Thyroid storm is a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate medical attention.
Symptoms of thyroid storm include:
- High fever a temperature between 104 degrees to 106 degrees Fahrenheit is common.
- Rapid heart rate that can exceed 140 beats per minute.
- Feeling agitated, irritable and/or anxious.
- Congestive heart failure.
- Loss of consciousness.
A complication of Graves disease, one of the causes of hyperthyroidism, is called Graves eye disease . This condition can usually not be prevented. Graves eye disease can cause the following complications:
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When Should I Call My Doctor About My Thyroid
If youre experiencing symptoms of thyroid disease, such as changes in your weight, heart rate and temperature sensitivity, contact your healthcare provider. They can run a simple blood test to see if your thyroid is the cause of your symptoms.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Your thyroid is an important gland in your endocrine system that affects many aspects of your body. Thyroid disease is very common and treatable. If you experience any thyroid disease-related symptoms or want to know if you have any risk factors for developing thyroid disease, dont be afraid to talk to your healthcare provider. Theyre there to help you.
Risk Factors For An Overactive Thyroid
- A family history of Graves’ disease or autoimmune disorders
- Women are more likely to develop hyperthyroidism compared to men
- A personal medical history of specific chronic illnesses, including type 1 diabetes, pernicious anemia, or primary adrenal insufficiency
- Common viral infections
- Excess iodine intake
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When Are The Different Treatments Used
If the thyroid gland is producing too many hormones, the first step of treatment is usually to slow down the production of hormones using medication. The hormone levels need to return to normal before other treatments can be started. If the overactive thyroid is being caused by “autonomous” thyroid cells, the next step of treatment is often radioiodine therapy. If the thyroid gland has become very large, surgery to remove it is usually recommended. In Graves’ disease, taking medication for several months is often enough to make the thyroid function return to normal. In about half of all people, the thyroid gland becomes overactive again when they stop taking the medication. Surgery or radioiodine therapy are then considered.
The choice of treatment doesn’t only depend on what is causing the overactive thyroid: For instance, the medication isn’t always well tolerated, and some people would rather not have surgery. It is then a good idea to discuss the available treatment options with the doctor.
What Are Common Tests To Check The Health Of The Thyroid
The first-line test for checking the health of your thyroid is a blood test that measures your levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone . Its a screening test for both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
In general, the normal range for a TSH blood test is 0.5 to 5.0 mIU/L . However, this can vary from lab to lab and depending on certain factors, such as pregnancy and your age.
Your provider can also check the levels of T4 and T3 in your blood.
If your test results come back abnormal your provider may suggest having an imaging test such as a thyroid scan, which uses small amounts of a safe, radioactive material to create images of your thyroid, or a thyroid ultrasound.
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