Hyperthyroidism: When to seek medical help?

By  , Expert Content
May 31, 2012

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Hyperthyroidism is often difficult to diagnose as the symptoms are vague and many symptoms of hyperthyroidism can mimic other health problems. There are no characteristic symptoms of hyperthyroidism and many of these symptoms are observed in several other medical problems.

Consult your doctor if you have one or more of the following symptoms suggestive of some significant medical problem:

  • Unintended weight loss (even when you eat well and diet is normal or in some cases, the appetite may be more).
  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) —the heart rate may be more than 100 beats a minute as compared with about 70 beats per minute in healthy adults.
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) or feeling of pounding of heart (palpitations).
  • Increase in appetite (but even after increase in appetite you may lose weight).
  • Nervousness, anxiety and irritability.
  • Tremour (fine trembling in your hands and fingers, which increases when the hands are stretched).
  • Sweating and feeling excessively hot (Increase in sensitivity to heat).
  • Changes in menstrual cycle pattern (in women).
  • Changes in bowel patterns, (it may become more frequent and may be loose).
  • Enlargement of thyroid gland (goitre), which may appear as a swelling at the base of your neck and move with swallowing.
  • Fatigue, weakness and tiredness.
  • Difficulty in sleeping (even though you feel tired and exhausted).

These are some symptoms that may be present in people with hyperthyroidism. You may have one or more of the above mentioned symptoms and there are no symptoms that are present in everyone with hyperthyroidism. Many of these signs and symptoms may be associated with a number of other conditions. Signs and symptoms may not be very evident in older adults. They are more likely to have either no signs or symptoms that are subtle such as an increased heart rate, heat intolerance and a tendency to get tired after doing ordinary activities. Your doctor may examine you, diagnose the cause of your symptoms and treat it accordingly.

If you have hyperthyroidism consult your doctor if:

  • regular follow up is recommended to monitor your condition,
  • symptoms do not improve within a few weeks of starting treatment,
  • your blood tests (TSH and T4 test) on follow-up show that TSH and T4 are out of limits and
  • you develop any new symptoms or side-effect of medications.

Who To Consult

Health professionals, who can be consulted, if you have any problem suggestive of hyperthyroidism include:

  • family physicians,
  • endocrinologist,
  • physician assistants and
  • internists.




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