Hormones help regulate many of the body’s functions. Hormones, produced by your thyroid gland, control how your body uses energy, such as your heart rate or how quickly you burn calories. When your thyroid gland releases more hormones than your body needs to function at its best, you have a thyroid disorder called hyperthyroidism (hyper means over).
An overactive thyroid gland produces excess hormones that cause your body to process energy more quickly than normal. As a result, you may lose weight, feel anxious or have other symptoms listed below. Without treatment, hyperthyroidism may lead to heart problems or a condition called “thyroid storm” that causes the heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature to reach dangerous levels.
Mercy physicians are experts in diagnosing and treating hyperthyroidism and other thyroid disorders. We’ll get to the cause of your overactive thyroid and determine the best treatment.
The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves’ disease. This is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, and the thyroid reacts by producing excess thyroid hormone.
Other, less common hyperthyroidism causes include:
While some people with hyperthyroidism have no symptoms, many will experience symptoms such as:
If you have symptoms of hyperthyroidism, make an appointment with your doctor. A simple blood test can determine whether your thyroid is producing excess hormones.
Even if you do not have bothersome symptoms, your doctor will likely recommend treatment for hyperthyroidism to prevent potentially dangerous complications in the future. Mercy physicians use several treatments for overactive thyroid based on your hormone levels, age and personal health. Sometimes, you may need a combination of treatments.
Your treatment options may include:
While you are taking antithyroid medication, or after radioactive iodine or surgery, your doctor will monitor your hormone levels with blood tests to ensure they don’t decrease too much.
If you need additional care, we’ll refer you to a Mercy endocrinologist who specializes in thyroid disorders. We’ll provide the care and support you need to keep your hormones at healthy levels, so you can feel your best.