Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

By  , Expert Content
May 31, 2012

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Hyperthyroidism is a common condition caused because of excessive secretion of thyroid hormone in the body. There are several causes of hyperthyroidism, however, the symptoms of all types of hyperthyroidism are the same (regardless of the cause). In many cases, hyperthyroidism can be difficult to diagnose as it mimics other health problems. As excess thyroid hormone affects all the organs and tissues in the body, signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism vary.

Some common signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  • unintended weight loss (even when your appetite and diet are normal or in some cases, may be more than normal),
  • rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) : the heart rate may be more than 100 beats a minute (in healthy adults, the heart rate is about 70 beats a minute),
  • 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 that increases when the hands are stretched),
  • sweating and feeling excessively hot (Increase in sensitivity to heat),
  • changes in menstrual patterns (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 and
  • difficulty in sleeping (even though you feel tired and exhausted).

Signs and symptoms may not be very evident in older adults. Older adults 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.

Graves' ophthalmopathy

Some people with hyperthyroidism may experience a problem called Graves' ophthalmopathy. It affects the eyes and causes the eyeballs to protrude beyond their normal protective orbits (as the tissues and muscles behind the eyes become swollen). The eyeballs may be pushed so far forward that they actually bulge out of their orbits.

Signs and symptoms of Graves' ophthalmopathy are:

  • protruding eyeballs,
  • dryness of eyeballs,
  • red or swollen eyes,
  • formation of excessive tear,
  • discomfort or pain in one or both eyes and
  • light sensitivity, blurry or double vision, inflammation or reduced eye movement.




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