Understanding the Dangers of Hyperthyroidism: Symptoms and Health Complications
Hyperthyroidism (often caused by the autoimmune disorder Graves Disease) is a medical condition that occurs when the thyroid gland, a small butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck, produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormones. The overproduction of these hormones can cause various health problems that can be dangerous if left untreated.
- Heart problems: The high levels of thyroid hormones can increase heart rate and blood pressure, putting stress on the heart and increasing the risk of heart disease. This can lead to chest pain, heart palpitations, and heart failure. (Source)
- Osteoporosis: Hyperthyroidism can lead to an increase in bone turnover and a decrease in bone density, increasing the risk of osteoporosis, a condition that makes bones brittle and fragile. (Source)
- Muscle Weakness: The excessive thyroid hormones can lead to muscle weakness, particularly in the legs and arms, making it difficult to perform daily activities and increasing the risk of falls and fractures. (Source)
- Nervousness and anxiety: Hyperthyroidism can cause symptoms such as nervousness, irritability, and anxiety, making it difficult to focus and perform daily tasks. (Source)
- Eye problems: Hyperthyroidism can lead to bulging eyes (Graves' ophthalmopathy) and eye irritation, causing double vision or vision loss if left untreated. (Source)
- Weight loss: Despite increased appetite, hyperthyroidism can cause rapid weight loss and difficulty in gaining weight, leading to malnutrition and weakness. (Source)
- Weight gain: Most people associate hyperthyroidism with the inability to gain weight. However, hyperthyroidism can lead to weight gain due to an increase in appetite and food intake. When the body produces too much thyroid hormone, it can cause an increase in metabolism and energy expenditure, which can make a person feel hungry more often. This increased appetite can lead to overeating and due to increased metabolism and increased appetite - blood glucose levels and cortisol get out of whack - and a hyperthyroid patient might ultimately experience the ill effects weight gain. (Source)
- Skin problems: Hyperthyroidism can cause skin to become dry and itchy, and increase the risk of skin infections. (Source)
It is important to seek medical attention if you experience symptoms such as sudden weight loss, increased heart rate, nervousness, and muscle weakness. Early detection and treatment of hyperthyroidism can prevent these health problems and improve quality of life.
Treatment options could include medications, radioactive iodine, or surgery. Listen to an podcast episode on Hyperthyroidism with integrative physician Dr. Gary E. Foresman MD HERE.
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