Hyperthyroidism refers to an overactive thyroid, in which the thyroid gland produces excessive amounts of thyroid hormones (T3 & T4).
When the thyroid gland is overactive, it overstimulates metabolism and aggravates the effect of the sympathetic nervous system, causing the body’s processes to speed up.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:
-Nervousness or anxiety, irritability. -Heart palpitations, hand tremors. -Excessive sweating & heat intolerance, in which -The skin is continuously flushed, warm, soft, & moist, -However, elderly patients may report dry skin with itching. -Tachycardia (fast heartbeat), Atrial fibrillation, and elevated systolic BP. -Hyperactivity, insomnia, increased metabolic rate, increased frequency of bowel movements, and weight loss despite increased appetite. -Osteoporosis & fracture, fine, brittle hair, with hair loss, muscle aches & weakness, fatigue, light or infrequent menstrual cycles & problems with fertility. -A goiter (enlarged thyroid gland) may also develop.
The course of the disease may be mild or may progress continuously if untreated, leading to:
emaciation, intense nervousness, delirium, disorientation, and eventually heart failure.
Thyroid storm -rare, severe hyperthyroidism -medical emergency -severe increase in metabolism -precipitated by a major stressor, inadequate treatment, or -prescribed therapy stopped
Signs & symptoms of thyroid storm:
-elevated temperature -increased tachycardia or onset of dysrhythmias -elevated BP -worsening tremors & restlessness -worsening mental status – delirious or psychotic state or coma Patients managed in critical care unit – lower metabolic rate manage cardiovascular status & hyperthermia
Hyperthyroidism causes an overall increase in metabolism, so all body processes speed up & are evidenced by the signs & symptoms we’ve discussed today.