Hyperthyroidism can be defined as a serious disorder that is associated with many other chronic diseases. According to recent research, the prevalence of hyperthyroidism is increasing rapidly throughout the world and studies suggest that hyperthyroidism is about six times more common in women as compared to men.
The thyroid is a gland that is located in the front of the neck and plays an important role in releasing two primary hormones, namely triiodothyronine and thyroxine, in the body that play a vital role in the functioning of various body functions. The amount of thyroid hormones released by the thyroid gland is essential for the healthy body and whenever there are any fluctuations in the levels of hormones, it causes complications.
- When the thyroid gland becomes overactive and produces excessive thyroid hormones, it is known as hyperthyroidism.
- When the thyroid gland fails to release a sufficient amount of thyroid hormones the body needs for the normal functioning, it is known as a condition of hypothyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism is associated with a large number of diseases and there are two main causes of hyperthyroidism:
1. Autoimmunity that causes stimulation of the thyroid gland.
2. Overproduction of hormones due to benign tumors in the thyroid gland.
There are a wide variety of symptoms that are accompanied by the development of hypothyroidism and some of the symptoms include:
- Fast heart rate
- Loss of scalp hair
- Irregular heartbeat
- Muscle weakness
- Frequent bowel movements
- A tendency of fingernails to separate from the nail bed.
Hyperthyroidism and eye disorders
Thyroid eye disease, also known as thyroid associated ophthalmopathy is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system in the body mistakenly attacks the healthy cells in the body. It causes inflammation of the eyes and the associated tissues. It is an ocular condition which frequents manifests due to thyroid dysfunction and it is also one of the most common manifestations of Grave’s disease. Thyroid eye disease is accompanied by a wide range of symptoms and some of them include, bulging of the eyes, retraction of the eyelids, decreased vision, double vision, and eye irritation.
The relationship between the thyroid dysfunction and abnormalities in eyes is due to the immune system. As stated, thyroid eye disorder is an autoimmune disease which means that the immune system in the body fails to function properly and attack healthy cells and tissue. When the thyroid gland produces excessive thyroid hormone, the immune system attack the orbital tissues, particularly the eye muscles. This results in the enlargement of the muscles and as the eye socket tissue is attacked, it causes pressure. The eyeball is pushed forward that causes the stiffness or eye muscles which pressures the optic nerve.
Hyperthyroidism and heart disease
The effects of hyperthyroidism on the heart have been investigated in various studies. Although hyperthyroidism has an impact on all the organs of the body, the heart is the most affected organ as even a small change in the production of thyroid hormones can trigger heart related symptoms. In fact, hyperthyroidism is accompanied with a wide range of heart related symptoms such as fast heart rate, irregular heart beat, and a risk of heart attack.
Hyperthyroidism is a major risk factor for the development of atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is a condition in which the two small upper chambers of the heart which are known as atria, do not function in the way they should. Atrial fibrillation is the most common and fearful arrhythmic complication of hyperthyroidism and it has a major impact on the quality of life. Atrial fibrillation is characterized by heart palpitations, dizziness, sweating, short of breath, fatigue and chest pain. In patients having hyperthyroidism, the risk of heart attack and cardiac attack increases to a great extent. Atrial fibrillation itself is a life threatening condition that is associated with various other complications.
Hyperthyroidism and bone diseases
There are certain pieces of evidence that suggest that hyperthyroidism can also be associated with muscle weakness and loss of lean body mass. There is no doubt in stating that an untreated hyperthyroidism can have an adverse effect on the skeletal system, which results in an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. Reduction in the body mass due to hyperthyroidism or thyroid dysfunction is not permanent as once the thyroid dysfunction is treated the bone density usually recovers.
Osteoporosis is a skeletal disorder which is characterized by low bone mass and micro architectural deterioration of bone tissues, accompanied by bone fragility. Osteoporosis is often known as a silent disease and this is because it is difficult to diagnose this disorder. This disorder is usually diagnosed when an individual experience fracture even after a small fall. Most often osteoporosis does not show any symptom, but sometimes it can cause symptoms like the curve in the back, sloping shoulders, loss of height, back pain, and hunched posture.
Tags: Graves disease, Hyperthyroidism symptoms, Hyperthyroidism treatment