Overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism): Too many thyroid hormones

21 October 2017

© Jupiter Images / iStockphoto

An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) speeds up your metabolism and heart rate - and this has far-reaching consequences: for example, weight loss, hair loss, high blood pressure, nervousness, insomnia or diarrhea. Women are much more frequently affected than men.

The hyperthyroidism is a Thyroid dysfunction: As a result of overactive thyroid is the too many hormones. These thyroid hormones - thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) - engage in all the metabolic processes of the body. Therefore, the over-supply of the body with the hormones boosts your metabolism in general.

Strictly speaking, the hyperthyroidism no independent thyroid disease. Rather, the hyperthyroidism is a symptom for various other diseases.

The shape of the thyroid gland resembles a butterfly. © LifeArt image / 2001 / Lippncott Williams & Wilkins all rights rese

The thyroid gland is located below the larynx. Its shape resembles a butterfly.

With an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) symptoms associated are extremely varied. Because by the over-supply of the hormones of metabolism is generally faster. typical common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

but the hyperthyroidism affects also visible in terms of individual organ systems. Operates as the Cardiovascular system accelerated because the thyroid hormones make the body more sensitive to the stress hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline. This effect of hyperthyroidism can cause the following symptoms:

Through its effect on the Central Nervous System (CNS = brain and spinal cord) caused the hyperthyroidism symptoms such as:

Diarrhea can be part of the symptoms of an overactive thyroid. A woman can also develop menstrual disorders. In addition, at a hyperthyroidism is often enlarged thyroid. An overactive thyroid gland does not necessarily mean that forms such a goiter.

Depending on reason of hyperthyroidism can other symptoms added. So often ill, for example, in Graves' disease, the eye socket. This so-called endocrine ophthalmopathy causes the eyeball protrudes. Doctors refer to this as a symptom Proptosis, colloquially it's called Glupschauge, Glotzauge or gloss eye. How strong it is pronounced, but says nothing about the degree of hyperthyroidism.

The actress Maggie Smith © Getty Images

The actress Maggie Smith (known inter alia from the Harry Potter films and series Downton Abbey) received in 1988 the diagnosis of Graves' disease. Because of their bulging eyes she underwent eye surgery.

Approximately every second case two symptoms to exophthalmos are added at a due Graves' hyperthyroidism an enlarged thyroid (goiter) and palpitations. If these three classic for Graves' disease symptoms occur simultaneously, Doctors refer to the Merseburg triad.

Behind an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) many different diseases can plug. The most common causes are the Graves' disease and thyroid autonomy.

The hyperthyroidism is often a symptom of the autoimmune disorder called Graves' disease (disease, graves). In autoimmune diseases, the immune system mistakenly directed against the body's own tissue - the cause is unknown. Possible triggers in addition to hereditary predisposition:

In Graves' disease antibodies enable falsely hormone production in the thyroid tissue: A directed against the body's own antigens antibodies (so-called. Autoantibodies) Mimics the action of thyroid stimulating hormone (thyroid-stimulating hormone, TSH). The autoantibodies hot TRAK (TSH receptor autoantibodies). As a result, the thyroid forms an uncontrollably large amount of thyroid hormones - there is an overactive thyroid. As the causes are autoimmune processes for this is the Graves' disease also means fachsprachlich:

Often the hyperthyroidism is also produced as a result of so-called thyroid autonomy. "autonomy" in this context means that the thyroid gland is working independently of external influences according to their own laws: When thyroid autonomy, the hormone production decoupled from the control by the parent centers in the brain - the hypothalamus and pituitary gland (pituitary).

Cause of the thyroid autonomy - and hyperthyroidism associated - is typically a Iodine deficiency. The autonomy, the entire thyroid gland or affect only certain areas. Such an area is referred to as an autonomous adenoma. Depending on the amount of autonomous thyroid tissue thyroid autonomy can be connected to a normal thyroid function or only mild overactive thyroid; but it can also be a distinct hyperthyroidism arise.

Only rarely are available for hyperthyroidism neither Graves' disease have a thyroid autonomy responsible, but another disease or other influences. Rare causes of hyperthyroidism include:

A rare cause of hyperthyroidism involve the use of substances iodine groups (e.g., drugs or X-ray contrast agent). In addition, a so-called hyperthyreosis factitia develops when a person takes too many thyroid hormones. This form of hyperthyroidism is made in the sense itself.

The hyperthyroidism is quite common. Here are Women affected significantly more often than men: A total of about 2 of 1,000 men and 20 of 1,000 women have hyperthyroidism.

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An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) to diagnose, the doctor determines the thyroid hormone levels in the blood. In an overactive thyroid

However, an oversupply of thyroid hormones alone does not say, Why did the hyperthyroidism. Therefore a thorough survey (e.g., for drugs taken and previous investigations) and optionally further tests are needed to isolate the cause of hyperthyroidism.

With an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), the treatment aims primarily to improve the symptoms. This can be done by

A special diet against the hyperthyroidism is to treat Not to disposal. Nevertheless, hyperthyroidism proper nutrition plays a major role:

adult have a average daily demand of about 150 to 200 micrograms of iodine (In pregnancy and lactation of iodine requirement is higher). If you receive such amounts of iodine on the daily diet (with iodized salt, etc.), this has no negative effects on your hyperthyroidism.

With a balanced diet, you need not worry that you might take too much iodine. But beware: More than 500 micrograms of iodine a day, it should never be with an overactive thyroid! Therefore a greater intake of iodine and external contact with iodine in hyperthyroidism should be avoided - these include:

lies a Graves' disease behind your hyperthyroidism, you get the treatment, especially so-called thyreostatics (Thiamazole and carbimazole). These drugs inhibit the production of thyroid hormones and thus alleviate the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

It is often advisable in Graves' disease, the antithyroid about for a year take because relapses are common within the first month. If, after several years of a throwback on, is surgery or radioiodine therapy in question to correct the hyperthyroidism.

A lifelong use the drug is therefore not recommended. Therefore, the choice often falls at a hyperthyroidism by thyroid autonomy from the outset to a surgery or radioiodine therapy.

If the sensitivity of your organism to the stress hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine is increased by hyperthyroidism, other drugs offer themselves for treatment: In the case of beta-blockers help such as the drug propranolol.

Under certain circumstances, comes at a hyperthyroidism questioned surgical treatment. The operation is as useful for an overactive thyroid if

To correct the overactive thyroid surgery, the surgeon must remove exactly that the remaining balance is no longer sufficient to flood the body with thyroid hormones so much of the functional thyroid tissue. This means:

Remains after surgery no longer enough thyroid tissue left over to supply the body with enough hormones, it comes instead of hyperthyroidism to hypothyroidism (hypothyroidism). This can, however, be treated without any problems with hormone replacement therapy with the drug L-thyroxine.

Most thyroid surgery has no lasting consequences. only occur in two to three hundred cases lasting and serious complications on. Examples:

Surgical treatment of hyperthyroidism also carries - like any surgery - the risk that may lead to bleeding afterwards. In any case, should be carefully considered whether the hyperthyroidism the treatment requires surgery. It is also advisable to seek an experienced surgeon.

Under certain circumstances, surgical treatment is useful for hyperthyroidism, but too risky. Some people refuse to even strictly to undergo surgery because of hyperthyroidism. In such cases, radioiodine therapy can help.

When used against radioactive iodine hyperthyroidism is a Radiation treatment of the thyroid gland. You make a radioactive isotope of iodine - iodine 131 - one that specifically affects the thyroid tissue and so reduces the hyperthyroidism. For other organs, the treatment is only a negligible radiation exposure. Also, a relationship between this form of therapy and cancer is not yet known.

However, during pregnancy and lactation is it inadvisable, proceed with a radioactive iodine against a hyperthyroidism. After the treatment, it is also recommended that at least six months to postpone a possible infertility.

In hyperthyroidism depend course and prognosis above all of them, so that the thyroid dysfunction is caused:

An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can be connected in its course with various complications.

Remains the hyperthyroidism in such a condition untreated, it comes in the course of the crisis loss of consciousness and confusion and ultimately to coma and circulatory failure. The thyroid storm is a life-threatening emergency situation, the one fast intensive medical help is necessary power.

A thyroid storm with hyperthyroidism can have different reasons. They often arises in an undetected thyroid by the supply of too much iodine (e.g., in X-ray contrast agents). Also an insufficiently treated hyperthyroidism and additional financial burdens (for example, secondary disease, severe infections, accidents or anesthesia) can trigger a thyrotoxic crisis.

Other possible complications of hyperthyroidism include a sudden reduced blood flow (ischemia) of the brain and thereby related strokes. Even young adults with hyperthyroidism have a higher by almost 50 percent risk of stroke than people whose thyroid gland is functioning normally.

You can hyperthyroidism (hyperthyroidism) limited prevention. Because it is often due to diseases whose origins you can not influence.

But an overactive thyroid can also others - have causes that you certainly - external avoid can. So hyperthyroidism, by, for example, Overdose of thyroid hormones or Administration of iodinated substances (Such as drugs or X-ray contrast medium) are formed. to prevent such a hyperthyroidism means: take the respective substances only in the prescribed dosage or administered only carefully!

In the nutrition But it is important despite hyperthyroidism, a Adequate intake of iodine to pay (for example, by using iodized salt). The amounts of iodine ingested with food have - with a balanced and need-based diet - normally no negative impact on an already existing hyperthyroidism.

Attention, exception: seaweed (As in sushi) you should look at existing hyperthyroidism not consume in large quantities, because the iodine content of algae varies greatly and can be extremely high!

These pages provide information and support for patients and doctors. There are in addition to the extensive range of information and a lively discussion forum.

The independent Thyroid Center Cologne offers extensive, compiled by specialists from different disciplines information on all topics related to the thyroid.


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