Tags: thyroid | gland | hormones | hyperthyroidism

What Is Hyperthyroidism?

By    |   Thursday, 11 Jun 2015 10:02 AM


The thyroid plays a major role in assisting cells and regulating metabolism in the body for energy. It does this by secreting thyroid hormones that maintain proper functioning of the body. Sometimes the thyroid gland becomes overactive and may release too many hormones, which is known as hyperthyroidism.

The gland is located at the front of the windpipe in the neck. The name thyroid comes from a Greek word that means “shield.” The thyroid is alerted by the pituitary gland in the brain to release more thyroid-stimulating hormone to keep the cells in the body protected and in working order.

That’s why doctors might check on the condition of the thyroid when disorders or diseases can’t be explained through other means. An over-stimulated thyroid can inflame tissues in the body, and can also cause hyperactivity in people who have hyperthyroidism.

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Some 15 million Americans could be suffering from thyroid problems without realizing it, according to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Since the thyroid manages functions throughout the body, it can be difficult to pinpoint the source of many disorders.

For example, anxiety or jitteriness can occur from an overactive thyroid. Doctors could recommend a change in diet or medication, but they might only check the thyroid when other methods fail. Hyperthyroidism can flood the bloodstream and cells with too many hormones that accelerate metabolism, so hyperactivity results. People with an overactive thyroid might find it difficult to relax.

The hyperactive response in the body from too much thyroid hormone can also cause the person to feel constantly hungry. People burn more calories because they’re on the move, so no weight gain is usually seen. In contrast, an underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, leads to weight gain despite diet.

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Other signs of an overactive thyroid include irritability, irritated eyes or vision problems, intolerance to heat and sweating, infertility, menstrual irregularities, and diarrhea or a change in bowel movements. The body’s actions seem to accelerate because of an overdose of the thyroid hormones.

In some cases, an overactive thyroid can last for just a few weeks before returning to normal. Hyperthyroidism can also lead to harmless conditions such as an enlarged thyroid gland, known as a goiter. In rare cases, disorders can cause thyroid cancer.

If you experience symptoms of hyperthyroidism and can’t relieve them through diet, exercise, or medication, consult with a doctor about thyroid hormone testing.

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The thyroid plays a major role in assisting cells and regulating metabolism in the body for energy. It does this by secreting thyroid hormones that maintain proper functioning of the body. Sometimes the thyroid gland becomes overactive and may release too many hormones,...
thyroid, gland, hormones, hyperthyroidism
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2015-02-11
Thursday, 11 Jun 2015 10:02 AM
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