Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) occurs when your thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. Hyperthyroidism can accelerate your body’s metabolism, causing unintentional weight loss and a rapid or irregular heartbeat.

Several treatments are available for hyperthyroidism. Doctors use anti-thyroid medications and radioactive iodine to slow the production of thyroid hormones. Sometimes, hyperthyroidism treatment involves surgery to remove all or part of your thyroid gland.

Although hyperthyroidism can be serious if you ignore it, most people respond well once hyperthyroidism is diagnosed and treated.

What is the impact of hyperthyroidism on the body?

Hyperthyroidism leads to weight loss, increased sweating, heat intolerance, muscle weakness, increased hunger, irritation, anxiety and palpitations.

If untreated, in elderly patients or those with underlying heart disease, it can be dangerous. It can cause osteoporosis, increased blood pressure, heart rhythm disturbances and heart failure.

What is the treatment of hyperthyroidism?

The treatment depends on the diagnosis.

There are 2 main types of hyperthyroidism:

  • Transient or temporary

  • Long lasting, which needs long term treatment

The transient type requires only symptomatic treatment while the long-standing type needs treatment for more than a year.

It is thus very important to make a clear diagnosis prior to initiation of treatment. This can be done with the help of certain pertinent historical information, family medical history and investigations, such as a thyroid scan.

Dr. Ashutosh Sonawane