What is Hyperthyroidism
The thyroid gland is a small gland, normally weighing less than one ounce, located in the front of the neck. It is made up of two lobes that lie along the windpipe (trachea) and are joined together by a narrow band of thyroid tissue, known as the isthmus.
The thyroid releases thyroid hormones which regulate the metabolism, growth, development and body temperature. The two best-known thyroid conditions are Hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) and Hyperthyroidism (over-active thyroid). Hyperthyroidism is a term which denotes that the thyroid is producing an excess of T3 and T4 which speeds up the body’s metabolism. Hyperthyroidism symptoms may not become obvious for a while and can be sometimes be mistaken for other conditions, if hyperthyroidism is not correctly diagnosed.
A properly functioning thyroid gland takes in iodine from foods or supplements, and converts it into thyroid hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).Thyroid cells are the only cells in the body which can absorb iodine. These cells combine iodine and the amino acid tyrosine to make T3 and T4 which are then released into the blood stream to make the body’s energy.
Causes of Hyperthyroidism
There are a number of causes of hyperthyroidism. They include:
Graves’ Disease (an autoimmune disorder) is the most common. It occurs more often in women and tends to run in families. In Graves’ disease, antibodies stimulate the thyroid to secrete too much hormone. Graves’ disease is thought to be an autoimmune disease, and antibodies that are characteristic of the illness may be found in the blood. These antibodies include thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI antibodies), thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO), and TSH receptor antibodies. The triggers for Grave’s disease include stress, smoking, radiation to the neck, medications, and infectious organisms such as viruses.
Excessive Intake of Thyroid Hormones
Excessive doses of thyroid hormones frequently go undetected due to the lack of follow-up of patients taking their thyroid medicine. These patients can be identified by having a low uptake of radioactively-labelled iodine (radioiodine) on a thyroid scan.
Abnormal Secretion of TSH
A tumor in the pituitary gland may produce an abnormally high secretion of TSH (the thyroid stimulating hormone). This leads to the thyroid gland producing excessive thyroid hormones and hyperthyroidism occurring. This condition is very rare and can be associated with other abnormalities of the pituitary gland.
Excessive Iodine Intake
The thyroid gland uses iodine to make thyroid hormones. An excess of iodine may cause hyperthyroidism. Iodine-induced hyperthyroidism is usually seen in patients who already have an underlying abnormal thyroid gland. Certain medications, such as amiodarone (Cordarone), which is used in the treatment of heart problems, contain a large amount of iodine and may be associated with hyperthyroidism.
Types of Hyperthyroidism
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid, leading to hyperthyroidism. The thyroid gland is stimulated to produce too much T-4, the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. The antibodies which usually help protect against viruses, bacteria mistakenly attack the thyroid and occasionally attack the tissue behind your eyes (Graves’ ophthalmopathy) and the skin of the lower legs over the shins (Graves’ dermopathy).
Sometimes the thyroid gland can become inflamed for unknown reasons causing excess thyroid hormone stored in the gland to leak into the bloodstream. Subacute thyroiditis, a rare form of thyroiditis causes pain in the thyroid gland. Other types are painless and may sometimes occur after pregnancy (postpartum thyroiditis).
Functioning Adenoma and Toxic Multinodular Goiter
A common part of the aging process is for the thyroid gland to become lumpier. These lumps do not produce thyroid hormones and require no treatment. Occasionally, a nodule may not respond to pituitary regulation via TSH and produces thyroid hormones independently. When this occurs it is called a functioning nodule. If there is more than one functioning nodule, the term toxic multinodular goiter is used. Functioning nodules may be readily detected with a thyroid scan.
Thisthyroid condition occurs when an excess of T3 and T4 speeds up the body’s metabolism and, if the mild condition is left untreated it can lead to symptoms such as:
- Weight loss, despite eating a good amount of food
- Increased appetite
- Rapid pounding of the heart
- Trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep
- Increased sweating
- More frequent bowel movements
- Less frequent menstrual periods with lighter than normal menstrual flow
- Tremor — usually a fine trembling in your hands and fingers
- Increased sensitivity to heat
- Changes in bowel patterns, especially more frequent bowel movements
- An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), which may appear as a swelling at the base of your neck
- Fatigue, muscle weakness
- Skin thinning
- Fine, brittle hair
Natural Treatment for Hyperthyroidism
LifeWorks Wellness Center is long recognized as one of the foremost natural health clinics in the US. At our Tampa Bay, Florida alternative medicine office we have been offering treatment for hyperthyroidism for a long time and many of our patients have benefitted from it. Patients fly in from all over the world because they simply can’t find clinics offering comprehensive analysis of their hyperthyroidism symptoms and natural medicine for thyroid conditions where they live.
We have helped many patients regain their health and we would love to help you, too. To become a patient or for more information feel free to call our New Patient coordinator at (727) 466-6789 or simply submit an online web inquiry with your request.
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