Hyperthyroidism, a thyroid disorder, is when the thyroid gland becomes overactive and produces excess triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) hormones. The thyroid can get overactive due to various medical conditions, such as Graves’ disease (the immune system attacks the thyroid), thyroid nodules (lump in the thyroid gland), thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid), etc. A wide range of symptoms can occur because of too much thyroid hormones in the body. These symptoms are not very specific and can mimic other health problems, making it difficult for the doctor to diagnose the cause. The presence of the following signs and symptoms can indicate abnormally high levels of thyroid hormones:
1. Nervousness or Irritability
When the thyroid gland works overtime, the hormones released can result in mood swings, anxiety, racing thoughts, and nervousness. Such people get easily irritated and agitated. Tiredness and muscle weakness associated with hyperthyroidism further affect the person’s mood.
Increased thyroid hormones also make the heart beat faster and harder and can lead to abnormal heart rhythms. This increase in heart activity can result in palpitations, a sudden increase in heart rate. In case you feel your heart is beating too fast at rest, consult a doctor online now.
3. Excessive Sweating
In hyperthyroidism, as the hormones increase the metabolism and various other functions in the body, the body temperature rises. This results in increased sweating as the body tries to cool itself. Such people tend to sweat a lot even when they are not physically active.
4. Weight Loss
As the abundance of thyroid hormones increases metabolism and appetite, patients with hyperthyroidism tend to experience unexplained weight loss. While unintentional weight loss can be due to various other severe illnesses, it is also the most common symptom associated with an overactive thyroid.
When the thyroid gland begins to swell due to the overproduction of hormones, it is called a goiter. The thyroid gland needs sufficient amounts of iodine to function properly, and when this need is not met, the body compensates by swelling up the thyroid gland. Goiter is treated by taking iodine supplements or surgery.
6. Sleep Problems
Hyperthyroidism can cause sleep problems, as the condition over-stimulates the nervous system, making it really hard to fall asleep. It can also cause night sweats and nighttime arousals. The hormonal changes also make you anxious and nervous, further affecting sleep.
These symptoms can occur in other medical problems also, but the presence of more than one of these symptoms together most commonly indicates a thyroid problem.