When it comes to discussions about thyroid disease, you often come across the term “butterfly-shaped gland” referring to the thyroid. It’s an accurate description of this remarkable gland, with its two lobes resembling butterfly wings that embrace the base of your neck.
The thyroid gland plays a vital role in your body, producing and secreting hormones that contribute to several crucial functions, including:
- Heart Rate: The thyroid hormones have a direct influence on your heart rate. When the thyroid produces an excess of these hormones, it can lead to a rapid heartbeat and, in some cases, chest pain due to increased blood pressure.
- Metabolism: Thyroid hormones also play a significant role in controlling your metabolism, the rate at which your body burns calories. Hyperthyroidism, characterized by excessive hormone production, can lead to increased metabolism, resulting in unexplained weight loss even without changes in your diet.
- Body Temperature: The thyroid helps regulate your body temperature. With hyperthyroidism, you may experience difficulty tolerating heat, as the excess hormones impact your body’s temperature regulation.
- Moods and Energy Level: Thyroid hormones are closely linked to your mood and energy levels. In hyperthyroidism, feelings of anxiety, nervousness, restlessness, and agitation are common due to the influence of excessive thyroid hormone levels.
- Blood Pressure and Muscle Contractions: Thyroid hormones have an impact on blood pressure regulation and certain muscle contractions throughout the body.
Hyperthyroidism, characterized by overactive thyroid function, can be caused by various conditions, including thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid) and Graves’ disease (an autoimmune disorder). Recognizing the signs of hyperthyroidism is crucial for early detection and treatment:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Sleep problems
- Unexplained weight loss
- Hair and skin changes
While women are 2 to 10 times more likely than men to develop an overactive thyroid, male hyperthyroidism does occur and usually requires medications to keep it in check. Men and women share many of hyperthyroidism’s main symptoms, but there are some symptoms that are unique to men.
A condition known as Graves’ disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism for men, though women are still more likely to develop this autoimmune disorder.
Having Graves’ disease means your immune system mistakenly attacks a healthy thyroid gland, causing it to produce too much thyroid hormone. It usually develops between the ages of 30 and 50, though it can form at any age.
Other causes include:
- nodules, which are abnormal clusters of thyroid cells within the gland
- Plummer’s disease, also known as toxic nodular goiter, which is more common in women and people over age 60
- thyroiditis, any of several conditions that cause inflammation of the thyroid gland
- too much iodine intake from medicines or diet
If you suspect you have hyperthyroidism, it’s essential to seek medical attention. A thorough examination, including a simple blood test and a review of your symptoms, can help diagnose the condition accurately. At Grassroots Healthcare, our experienced team will determine the underlying cause of your hyperthyroidism and tailor a treatment plan to suit your specific needs, promoting long-term wellness.
Don’t delay in addressing your concerns. Contact our office or conveniently book an appointment online to take the first step towards managing your thyroid health and overall well-being.