Who gets hyperthyroidism?
Anyone can get hyperthyroidism, but it is about four to five times more common in women than in men.
Author: Kellie Heywood
First answered: 18 Sep 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.9/5 Votes: 865
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Hyperthyroidism (also called thyrotoxicosis) is an over-active thyroid gland. It leads to an oversupply of several hormones that control metabolism in the body.
There are many symptoms that can occur with hyperthyroidism, and they can vary greatly from person to person. Symptoms can include a fast pulse, a fast or irregular heartbeat, shaking, agitation and anxiety, frequent bowel movements and diarrhea, …
There are many causes of hyperthyroidism. Some of the more common ones include autoimmune reactions, abnormal growths of the thyroid, inflammation of the thyroid, and taking in too much iodine.
Hyperthyroidism is diagnosed with a physical examination and blood tests to check hormone and antibody levels. In some cases, a thyroid scan using radioactive iodine may be necessary to determine the type of hyperthyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism can be treated with anti-thyroid medications, taking radioactive iodine to destroy thyroid cells and surgery to remove the thyroid.
Most forms of hyperthyroidism cannot be prevented. Avoiding excess iodine intake can prevent iodine-related forms of hyperthyroidism.
Left untreated, hyperthyroidism can lead to serious health conditions including heart damage; it can, in severe cases, be life-threatening.
Women are more likely to develop hyperthyroidism. Pregnancy can trigger the condition in some women. Taking in excessive iodine (via medications, food or medical tests) can also cause some forms of hyperthyroidism.