Hyperthyroidism is a serious health condition in which the thyroid gland overproduces the thyroid hormone. This thyroid condition is up to 10 times more common in women and the symptoms can vary. When it comes to hyperthyroidism symptoms, Mayo Clinic warns that Hyperthyroidism can accelerate your body’s metabolism significantly, causing sudden weight loss, a rapid or irregular heartbeat, sweating, and nervousness or irritability.
Below we discuss a few of those symptoms, along with a few others that we commonly see when treating patients for hyperthyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism can be difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms are very similar to other, more commonly diagnosed conditions and diseases. However, a thorough understanding of the most common signs and symptoms can help ensure that patients are able to identify and report the symptoms to their doctor so the disease can be properly diagnosed and treatment can begin.
Below is our guide to hyperthyroidism symptoms which are some of the most common signs and symptoms of the disease. If you notice one, many, or all of these hyperthyroidism symptoms below, especially if you’re a woman, it’s important that you contact your doctor and discuss the symptoms before jumping to any conclusions.
Sudden and Unexplained Weight Loss
Sudden and unexplained weight loss is one of the most common symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
Patients most often notice this symptom after losing weight even though they haven’t changed their diet or increased the amount of routine exercise they get. Basically, they’ve lost weight even though they’re eating the same amount of food as they were before and not burning any more calories than they were before.
If your clothes are suddenly fitting much looser than before and you haven’t been working out, eating less, or haven’t made any other drastic life or diet changes then it’s very important that you contact your doctor. Even if hyperthyroidism isn’t the cause of the sudden weight loss, sudden and unexplained weight loss is a very common symptom of many serious diseases and shouldn’t be ignored.
This symptom is often the most distinguishable symptom of hyperthyroidism and it’s very common among both older and younger patients.
Patients with hyperthyroidism can have a heartbeat of over 100 beats per minute, which is significantly higher than the typical average heart rate. The rapid heartbeat can also be accompanied by a pounding of the heart, a condition popularly known as heart palpitations. Older patients will typically also experience irregular heart rhythms, meaning the beats fluctuate and don’t appear to be beating at a constant or consistent rhythm.
When hyperthyroidism is in its most severe stage, heart failure can occur. Even if the irregularity in your heartbeat isn’t related to your thyroid, it can be a very serious condition and should be examined by a doctor.
Changes in Menstrual Patterns
As we’ve mentioned, overactive thyroids are much more common in women. One of the common symptoms of hyperthyroidism that women experience is having irregular menstrual flow, especially during the early stages of the disease.
Exact flow will vary depending on the person and how severe the condition is. Some women report having scant menstrual flow and others report having heavy menstrual flow. The important symptom to notice is whether there’s been an overall change in your menstrual pattern.
Nervousness and Agitation
Nervousness and agitation is another very common symptom of an overactive thyroid that the majority of patients will experience at some point, and many will experience on a regular basis, especially if the disease goes untreated.
We all get agitated and nervous at times, but nervousness and agitation with hyperthyroidism is more noticeable because the symptom will arise even when there is an explainable reason to be nervous or agitated. If you’ve noticed that you’re feeling a bit more on edge and beginning to feel nervous and agitated on a regular basis, discussing this symptom with your doctor is highly recommended. This is especially true if these feelings are increasing in severity without any good or obvious reason. Like the other symptoms, even if an overactive thyroid isn’t the exact reason for the change in feelings, there’s a good chance that another hormone is to blame and you should visit your doctor to discuss the problem.
Nearly all patients with hyperthyroidism end up suffering from decreased concentration. As the disease progresses and goes untreated this symptom gets much worse, often resulting in severe loss of concentration.
Like many of the symptoms already listed, it’s important to notice the change in your concentration and determine whether it’s related to any other significant life change or whether it’s come on suddenly, for no explained reason. Reduced concentration is a common symptom when a person is sleep deprived or malnourished, for example. So, if you’re experiencing high levels of stress, sleeping less for whatever reason, or not eating properly, you could also experience decreased concentration. However, if you’re suddenly unable to concentrate like you normally do, along with any of the other symptoms, then there’s a good chance that this is related to something out of your control.
An overactive thyroid could be one of the many reasons for this sudden and recurring loss in concentration and you should visit your doctor to discuss the symptom.
We all sweat, especially in warmer weather, but patients suffering from hyperthyroidism will often experience excessive sweating to the point that it begins to interrupt their day.
One example of excessive sweating that interrupts your daily life is if you have to change clothes multiple times per day in order to keep your clothes dry. This symptom can also be accompanied by heat intolerance.
Other Common Hyperthyroidism Symptoms
The symptoms listed above aren’t the only signs of hyperthyroidism, but they are a few of the most common. Others signs can include; thin or brittle hair, hand tremors, insomnia, weakness in the legs, diarrhea, and a goiter on the thyroid.
It’s very important that you contact your doctor immediately if you experience any, many, or all of the symptoms mentioned in this article. Hyperthyroidism is a serious condition and it’s very important that it gets diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. If untreated, an overactive thyroid may cause heart failure, weak bones, osteoporosis, or even a stroke.
Additional Hyperthyroidism Reading and Resources:
Have you been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism? If so, what symptom was most obvious to you and convinced you to visit your doctor? We’d love to hear your story and it could help other patients considering whether to visit their doctor. Feel free to share your story in the comments section below.
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