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What is hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism is a pathological state in which there is an excess of the function of the thyroid gland that results in an increase in the secretion of thyroid hormones (T3 and T4), whose main function, among others, is to regulate metabolic reactions of the organism. The main affected group are women in the third decade of life.

Causes of hyperthyroidism

There are numerous causes of hyperthyroidism but most of the cases are due to Graves disease or diffuse goiter which is an autoimmune disease in which the body produces antibodies (TSI) that produce thyroid stimulation.

Other causes are the multinodular goiter that, as the name suggests, is the presence of nodules in the gland that secrete thyroid hormones without regulation; thyroiditis, which is an inflammation of the thyroid, usually of viral origin, and presents with pain and fever, in addition to the general symptoms. It can also be caused by excessive iodine consumption.

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism

The increase of the levels of the thyroid hormones supposes an increase of the basal metabolism. The symptoms appear gradually as the disease progresses and vary from one patient to another.
What is hyperthyroidism?
The main symptoms are:

– The increase in metabolism means an increase in energy expenditure and the patient may feel fatigue, muscle weakness, dyspnea on exertion … It also results in weight loss, but the patient may experience excessive hunger, depending on whether it predominates in each patient, will be thin or overweight, although weight loss is the norm.

– Intolerance to heat, thinner skin, hair loss, brittle nails, sweating, reddening of the skin.

– There is an increase in intestinal motility: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, cramps, increased number of bowel movements …

– At cardiac level, the heart rate rises causing arrhythmias, tachycardia, palpitations,

– The main psychological symptoms: anxiety, irritability, insomnia, nervousness.

– Goiter: supposes the enlargement of the thyroid that can hinder swallowing or produce aphonia and pain due to pressure.

– In women, the menstrual cycle can be altered.

– The appearance of exophthalmos (eyes that protrude) and pretibial myxedema (thickening of the skin of the legs) occurs in Graves’ disease.

There are several therapeutic alternatives that involve the cure or control of the disease. It can be treated with drugs, surgery or radioactive iodine. But there are also some dietary recommendations that can help us.

Dietary recommendations for hyperthyroidism

– Avoid the consumption of foods rich in iodine such as seafood, egg yolk, garlic, strawberries, lentils, coconut, hazelnuts …

– Consume dairy products and foods rich in calcium and also those rich in iron.

– Exciting drinks should be avoided.

– Increase protein consumption. Avoid fatty meats.

As we have said before, hyperthyroidism is a disorder that has treatment but requires medical control to avoid complications that can be serious.

Images courtesy of Alejoarango

What is hyperthyroidism?