HYPERTHYROIDISM OR ACCELERATED WORK OF THE THYROID GLAND
When you hear that someone has an overactive thyroid gland the first association for this condition is thinness.
It often happens that someone wants to have this disorder in order to adjust the bodyline, and believe it or not some people (in order to fight with kilograms) take hormonal tablets to regulate the work of the thyroid gland, in order to start the process of accelerating the metabolism in this way. At some point, this phenomenon became so widespread that it became necessary to emphasize in the precautions for these drugs that they do not do such a thing at any cost.
Even when someone has a thyroid problem and is prescribed medication, self-administering medication (especially hormonal) without professional supervision is simply a bad idea.
In order to better understand what an overactive thyroid gland or hyperthyroidism is, it is best to first familiarize yourself with the principles of thyroid function.
This odd thyroid-shaped gland (from which it got its name), in Latin Glandula thyroidea, simply called thyroid gland, is located in the lower part of the neck and is one of the glands with internal secretion, which means that it secretes its products directly into the blood (endocrine gland).
This small but powerful gland secretes the hormones triiodothyronine or T3 and thyroxine or T4, which are produced and secreted under the influence of the thyroid-stimulating hormone pituitary hormone – TSH.
Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism by affecting almost all metabolic processes. They stimulate basal metabolism and heat generation, increase protein synthesis, carbohydrate and fat metabolism, cholesterol breakdown and increase the cardiac output. They are important for growth and maturation and the secretion of growth hormones.
They influence the development of the central nervous system and the ossification of bones. These hormones affect alertness, responsiveness, hearing, memory and learning. They are important for the reproductive functions of both men and women, and they also play an important role in pregnancy. And all is well when the thyroid gland works without problems.
But, because of the fast-paced lifestyle, daily stress we are exposed to, lack of space for complete relaxation and protection from the constant bombardment of information, pollution and improper and unhealthy nutrition and in addition to all of that because of reasons that are still a mystery to medical scientists , the thyroid gland at some point stops functioning normally.
More and more people are facing a thyroid disorder and this is one of the most common endocrinological disorders both in our country and in the world. Many unpleasant symptoms that patients feel can stem from problems with the functioning of the thyroid gland.
Healthy people who would easily lose weight often “wish” for the effects of an accelerated thyroid gland but those who have felt all the consequences of a thyroid disorder on their own skin know that no one should either slow down (hypothyroidism) or accelerate (hyperthyroidism) wishes.
It is precisely hyperthyroidism, that is accelerated work of the thyroid gland, the more unpleasant type of disturbance in its work.
Among the most common causes is autoimmune thyroid disease – Graves’ disease, which is the cause of accelerated work of the gland in as many as 70 to 80 percent of patients.
Increased hormone secretion is stimulated by antibodies. The cause can be a nodule or several nodules in the thyroid gland that can produce a larger amount of hormones and sometimes the entire gland is enlarged. The increased production of hormones T3 and T4 is also influenced by the high level of the pituitary hormone TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) due to pituitary adenoma. Also, excessive production of these hormones occurs with the appearance of certain tumors.
As we said at the beginning the thyroid gland affects almost all metabolic processes in the body. This is precisely why the symptoms of hyperthyroidism are actually a consequence of the increased action of thyroid hormone on the whole body.
Most often the entire thyroid gland is enlarged and patients face nervousness, anxiety, a feeling of emotional instability, insomnia, excessive sweating of the whole body and palms and characteristic stages of heart palpitations and skipping which can be particularly unpleasant.
In addition, blood pressure is slightly elevated, weight loss occurs with increased appetite (sometimes the weight loss is drastic), intestinal peristalsis is accelerated and bowel movements are frequent. Also, patients feel muscle weakness, shortness of breath, malaise and constant fatigue and fine tremors of the fingers and tongue also occur.
In women, there is a disturbance of the menstrual cycle, the skin is warm and moist, the hair is thin, thin and often falls out.
Hyperthyroidism in men
Although thyroid disorders are much more common in women, these problems are far from bypassing men. Perhaps the assumption that the thyroid gland most often affects women is the reason why it is more difficult to suspect that a man has a problem with the thyroid gland.
Symptoms in men who have a problem with hyperthyroidism can resemble the so-called managerial symptoms, i.e. symptoms of burnout at the workplace. Most often, some cardiovascular disturbances occur, such as an accelerated pulse. However, a detailed examination by a cardiologist will eliminate heart problems as the cause of the symptoms experienced by the patient.
The feeling that a lump is stuck in the throat or suffocation can indicate both anxiety and structural changes in the thyroid gland.
In men, the problem with hyperthyroidism can be indicated by problems with reproductive health, such as loss of potency or impossibility of conception, and significant changes in body weight in a short time interval can also indicate this problem.
One of the frequent symptoms is a problem with the regulation of body temperature, so patients struggle with either excessive sweating or a feeling of chills. And some other symptoms characteristic of anxiety can indicate exactly the thyroid gland.
These are numerous disturbances on the mental plane, such as distraction and inability to concentrate, frequent mood swings and lethargy.
It is not new if we say that it is important to detect the problem of hyperthyroidism in time and then start treatment, because the longer the problem with the thyroid lasts, the more this important gland in our body is exhausted as well as all the organs that it directly or indirectly affects.
It is not new that it is important to balance obligations so that at least part of your free time is spent in relaxation and peace.
Hyperthyroidism symptoms in females
There are no major differences in symptomatology in women compared to male patients.
Well, despite the fact that thyroid problems are more common in women, thanks to the clinical picture, which can vary from asymptomatic forms to clear symptomatology, the right diagnosis and adequate treatment are often preceded by a very long period of misdiagnosis and poor assessment.
Patients complain of nervousness, motor restlessness, emotional lability, loss of sleep, body tremors, frequent bowel movements, excessive sweating, difficulty withstanding heat, palpitations and rapid work at rest, sometimes with arrhythmia and occasionally with elevated blood pressure.
Despite a good or increased appetite, weight loss is visible, because the metabolism is accelerated.
In women, it is still possible to have a disorder of the monthly cycle or its complete absence, a decrease in sexual desire and in every other woman, sterility occurs.
The skin is warm, moist, soft and velvety and sometimes there is redness on the palms and skin pigmentation disorders. Hair is thin, silky, thinning and often falls out, nails are fragile and break easily.
It happens that patients also feel fine tremors of the fingers and tongue and increased reflexes.
Frequent watering of the eyes, infrequent blinking, lagging of the eyelids when looking up and reduced visual acuity may indicate damage to the optic nerve.
In severe cases, mania and psychosis may occur and signs of dementia may also occur in the elderly.
Disturbances can appear suddenly or gradually, and patients often associate the onset of symptoms with some mental or physical stress.
Due to the increased metabolism in those who are in a state of hyperthyroidism, there is a change in the muscle bone mass, so an increased intake of amino acids, proteins and calcium is recommended.
Foods that have a positive effect are:
- whole grains
- brussels sprout
- turmeric spice
- vitamin C
- omega3 fatty acids
The following foods should be included in the diet of patients with hyperthyroidism every day – all whole grains must be represented such as whole grain rice, for example, and the grain that is recommended as the number one choice for them is millet because it has a stromogenic effect.
We highly recommend all kinds of sea and river fish, sardines, eels with bones, for example, at least twice a week and it is important to know that salmon is a good source of vitamin D with calcium, omega 3 fatty acids.
Turkey is also an excellent source of protein, and is recommended over red meat.
All kinds of edible mushrooms are also welcome in the diet.
As far as dairy products are concerned, milk, sour and sweet, yogurt and a minimum of one liter a day are recommended, as well as all kinds of cheeses, cow, sheep, goat and full-fat cheeses are preferred because calcium is much better used from them.
The diet of people with hypervitaminosis should include all kinds of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Cold-pressed vegetable oils such as olive and linseed are recommended for cooking.
Of the desserts, those made with milk are always recommended, because of the calcium and protein.
Only natural fruit juices, vegetable juices, mineral water, kvass as an exceptional food, homemade teas are also recommended.
Coffee should definitely be avoided, it is a strong stimulant in the production of hormones, as well as refined sugar.
Pour two tablespoons of hawthorn flowers with half a liter of 20% alcohol and let it stand for 20 days. You get a tincture that you drink four times a day. The maximum single dose is 30 drops.
Hyperthyroidism in children
Although disorders in the work of the thyroid gland are common in mature age, namely in women aged 30 to 45, symptoms also occur in children and that more in girls than in boys.
The thyroid gland is very important in regulating the child’s metabolism. It is especially important for the growth and development of the brain, maintenance of the basic functions of the body such as breathing, circulation, digestion and more precisely for the normal functioning of all organs.
When the thyroid gland works too fast it produces too many hormones and all body functions accelerate and such a condition is known as hyperthyroidism.
The most important thing is that the symptoms of both disorders are detected in time because then they are most successfully treated and they are detected by a simple blood test and ultrasound examination.
If a child has hyperthyroidism, his bodily functions and metabolic processes take place faster than normal. The most common signs and signals to parents and then to doctors are: weight loss despite increased appetite and frequent bowel movements and weak and irregular menstruation in girls at puberty.
Disorders of the thyroid gland function in children can also occur in other ways.
For example, sores or bumps may appear on the neck. These changes on the neck in children are very rare, mostly non-cancerous and can be treated if detected in time.
In order to make a diagnosis it is necessary to perform an examination by an endocrinologist, laboratory determination of the level of hormones T3, T4 (thyroid hormones) and TSH (pituitary hormone) in the blood and an ultrasound examination of the thyroid gland.
In laboratory analyses, thyroid hormone values are usually increased (although sometimes only slightly), while TSH can be low or even unmeasurable (Graves’ disease) or elevated (pituitary adenoma).
In the case of hyperthyroidism, it is specific that the phases of calmness and the phase of reappearance of the disease alternate. Another characteristic of hyperthyroidism is that it is unpredictable in onset, duration and cure.
What is important in the treatment of hyperthyroidism?
There are three basic ways of applying antithyroid drugs, radioactive iodine therapy and surgical removal of diseased tissue of the gland. The choice of therapy depends on the form of the disorder, the patient’s age, the presence of goiter, an increase in the thyroid gland or some other conditions and pregnancy. When taking thyrostatic drugs, the symptoms of hyperthyroidism usually disappear only after six to eight weeks of taking the therapy. Despite this, the medication should be continued for at least another year (usually 12 to 24 months) and in some cases much longer. Of course, regular controls are a given.
Long-term therapy with antithyroid drugs is considered the therapy of choice in young patients with small goiter or patients with active ophthalmopathy, while it is usually not indicated in toxic nodular goiter. In about 30 to 40 percent of cases after treatment with antithyroid drugs, the disease reoccurs and if drug treatment does not give the desired results or at least does not show some improvement, the use of radioactive iodine in therapy begins.
In more severe forms of hyperthyroidism, certain symptoms must be treated. So, for example, the drug Propranol is used as an auxiliary drug to suppress excessive stimulation of adrenergic receptors by thyroid hormones, such as: tremors, anxiety, sweating and heat intolerance and rapid heart rate. Also, in the case of thyrotoxicosis caused by inflammation of the thyroid gland, only sedatives and propranolol are given.
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