Overview of Hyperthyroidism
When there is excess secretion of thyroid hormones, hyperthyroidism occurs. This condition results in elevated levels of free thyroxine (FT4), free triiodothyronine (FT3), or both, leading to thyrotoxicosis, a hypermetabolic disorder. Many people confuse the terms hyperthyroidism and thyrotoxicosis, but hyperthyroidism is not associated with new hormone production, whereas thyrotoxicosis is.
There are several kinds of hyperthyroidism: Graves disease (diffuse toxic goiter), toxic adenoma, and Plummer disease (toxic multinodular goiter). The most common type of thyrotoxicosis is Graves disease, making up around 75% of cases in the U.S. This condition is an autoimmune condition characterized by many antibodies, such as anti-TPO and anti-TGs. Approximately 20% of people have a toxic multinodular goiter, occurring more often in regions where iodine deficiency is commonplace. Finally, Plummer disease affects around 5% of people.
Pathophysiology of Overactive Thyroid
Autoimmune hyperthyroidism occurs with the same frequency in Asians, Hispanics, and Caucasians, but African Americans have lower rates. More women than men are affected with a male-to-female ratio of one to seven. Also, this condition is more common among people who are between 20 to 40 years old.
The production of thyroid hormone is controlled by a complicated mechanism that involves many factors. Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) is secreted from the hypothalamus, and this substance stimulates the pituitary gland to produce thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). The synthesis of thyroid hormone is enabled by iodine, a dietary substance that goes into the thyroid by way of a transporter enzyme. There, through a process known as organification, iodine binds to thyroglobulin and forms T3 and T4. Any process that leads to an increase in thyroid hormone results in thyrotoxicosis.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of Hyperthyroidism
To diagnose this condition, the Las Vegas doctors at Patient First Wellness must evaluate your clinical manifestations and do a physical examination. Additionally, there will be necessary diagnostic laboratory work. The visit and lab work is only $90, compared to $200 at most facilities. The lab tests include thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level, free thyroxine (FT4) assay, and free thyroxine index (FTI). Other antibody tests may be necessary, including anti-thyroid peroxidase and thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin. The common signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:
• Anxiety and nervousness
• Heat intolerance
• Excessive sweating
• Racing heart rate
• Elevated blood pressure
• Weight loss
• Hand tremor
• Warm, smooth, moist skin
• Menstrual flow changes
Management of Hyperthyroidism
Treatment for hyperthyroidism focuses around relief of symptoms, along with antithyroid drugs, radioactive iodine, and thyroidectomy. The doctors at Patient First Wellness can offer Las Vegas, NV residents low-cost treatment solutions to the clinical manifestations of this condition. Common symptomatic therapies include:
• Beta-blockers – for cardiovascular symptoms
• Saline eye drops – for mild eye irritation
• Methimazole – an antithyroid agent
• Propylthiouracil – an antithyroid agent
Researchers Find Irregular Heart Rhythm and Stroke linked to Hyperthyroidism
A team of Denmark researchers led by Selmer (2012) found that an overactive thyroid gland is a risk factor for the development of an irregular heart rhythm, known as atrial fibrillation. Using over 580,000 patients who had had a thyroid blood test between the years of 2000 and 2010, the investigators found that 3% of the patients ended up with a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation, which puts them at risk for heart attack or stroke.
The risk for this irregular heart rhythm increased with lowering levels of TSH (a diagnostic factor in hyperthyroidism). The patients with subclinical disease had a 30% increased risk, and there was a 12% increased risk for those with a high-normal thyroid function. These scientists concluded that they cannot prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship, but there is definitely an association between atrial fibrillation and hyperthyroidism.
According to researchers with the American Heart Association (2010), an overactive thyroid gland can increase the risk of stroke in young people by 44%. In a study involving over 3,000 young adults diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, the researchers tracked each patient for five years, evaluating those who had an ischemic stroke. One percent of these patients suffered a stroke, and many developed conditions that could lead to a stroke, such as atrial fibrillation.
The investigators concluded that there was an association between hyperthyroidism and the risk of ischemic stroke in young persons. They stress the need for thyroid function testing and early disease detection for this age group. Additionally, both stroke and atrial fibrillation can be controlled or prevented with hyperthyroidism treatment.
If you have any of these symptoms and risk factors, consider having an evaluation at the Patient’s Choice Medical Center in Las Vegas, NV. Hyperthyroidism is a treatable disease, and this healthcare facility offers affordable medical care for people who do not have insurance. You can call to make an appointment at (702) 474 – 6300 today!