Tags: Thyroid Disorders | primary hyperthyroidism | secondary hyperthyroidism | difference

Primary Hyperthyroidism, Secondary Hyperthyroidism and Their Differences

By    |   Thursday, 30 Jun 2016 04:23 PM

There are two types of hyperthyroidism: primary and secondary. Each one has different causes but may present with similar symptoms.

Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid, is a disorder of the thyroid gland in which it produces high levels of thyroxine and/or triiodothyronine and is characterized by low levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).

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Primary hyperthyroidism, according to Merck, means that the cause of hyperthyroidism is due to the malfunctioning of the thyroid gland. The gland produces excess thyroid hormones and causes hypermetabolism.

Causes of primary hyperthyroidism include Graves’ disease, thyroiditis, multinodular goiter, or a single hyperfunctioning “hot” nodule.

Symptoms of primary hyperthyroidism, according to Mayo Clinic, include sudden weight loss, rapid heartbeat, increased appetite, nervousness, tremor, sweating, heat sensitivity, menstrual changes, thyroid goiter, fatigue, muscle weakness, difficulty sleeping, thin and dry hair, or changes in bowel movements.

Symptoms of primary hyperthyroidism may be similar to other health issues and may be difficult to diagnose. Treatment often includes radioactive iodine, anti-thyroid medications, beta blockers, or thyroid gland removal.

Secondary hyperthyroidism often presents like primary hyperthyroidism, says DoveMed, but its etiology is different. Secondary hyperthyroidism is caused by dysfunctions outside the thyroid gland.

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The main cause of secondary hyperthyroidism is a thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) secreting pituitary adenoma or benign tumor found on the pituitary gland. Other causes include gestational thyrotoxicosis (hyperthyroidism during pregnancy), and a human chorionic gonadotropin-producing tumor.

The symptoms are similar to primary hyperthyroidism and the prognosis is positive with proper treatment. Secondary hyperthyroidism is rare and less common than primary hyperthyroidism.

DoveMed reports that both primary and secondary hyperthyroidism are diagnosed using similar testing methods that include thyroid hormone level blood tests, thyroid ultrasound, physical exam, and a complete medical and family history. Differences in testing include a CT scan or MRI of the brain to rule out tumors in the pituitary gland when diagnosing secondary hyperthyroidism.

Treatment of secondary hyperthyroidism often involves the removal of a pituitary adenoma or HCG-secreting tumor, anti-thyroid drugs, and beta blockers.

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There are two types of hyperthyroidism: primary and secondary. Each one has different causes but may present with similar symptoms.
primary hyperthyroidism, secondary hyperthyroidism, difference
Thursday, 30 Jun 2016 04:23 PM
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