If hypothyroidism means lack of energy, weight gain, and heavy periods, sign me up for the opposite – right?  Believe me, if an overactive thyroid could reverse these symptoms, I’d be illegally popping thyroid hormone on a daily basis – all caution to the wind.  Hyperthyroidism is no picnic and comes with its own host of problems.  You could learn a valuable lesson from your thyroid.  Moderation is the key to happiness and health.  Too much of anything and you are jumpy, scattered and exhausted.  Too little and you are sluggish, depressed and exhausted.  A common theme in all of my entries seems to be fatigue.  Forget about the common cold, let’s find a cure for tired.

1.  Symptoms of hyperthyroidism can be acute or chronic, mild or severe.

2.  They include fatigue, sweating, difficulty with memory and concentration, weight loss, restlessness, anxiety, diarrhea, tremor and hair loss.  Additionally, an overactive thyroid can cause insomnia, high blood pressure, irregular heart beat and protruding eyes.

3.  People with hyperthyroidism may have a goiter (enlarged thyroid) but not everyone with a goiter will have hyperthyroidism.  Your doctor can diagnose an overactive thyroid with a blood test.

4.  Hyperthyroidism is usually treatable, but its treatment is more complicated than that of hypothyroidism.   Depending on the severity of the condition, anti-thyroid medications may be used.  In other circumstances, radioactive iodine may be used to destroy the functionality of the gland or the thyroid may have to be surgically removed.  In these cases, thyroid hormone will have to be taken for the rest of the patient’s life.

5.  Hyperthyroidism can be caused by an autoimmune disorder known as Graves’ disease, inflammation of the gland called thyroiditis, or growths on the thyroid.  It is much less common than hypothyroidism, affecting about a quarter as many people.  Like hypothyroidism, it affects women more than men – just one more reason to be very good in this life so I can come back as a man in my next.

If I now have you thoroughly concerned your thyroid is not functioning properly, I apologize.  You may symptoms similar to those for hypo and hyperthyroidism just because you are alive and it is summer and you have responsibilities and stressors.  If you are experiencing any worsening of these symptoms or if you feel they never improve, perhaps it is time to take a vacation … I mean see your doctor.



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