Some diseases can go unnoticed for a while due to the symptoms not being prominent during the beginning stages. One such condition is hyperthyroidism. It is estimated that nearly twenty million people in the United States have some form of thyroid disease, with about one in a hundred people being diagnosed with hyperthyroidism.
Diagnosing the condition and getting it treated at an endocrinology clinic is crucial to saving a person’s life. Therefore, we will examine this problem and the available treatments in this blog.
What is hyperthyroidism?
The thyroid is a tiny gland that is located in front of the windpipe. It is responsible for producing thyroid hormones that regulate metabolism, heart rate, body temperature, muscle, and digestive function. It also helps in bone formation and brain development. When the gland becomes overactive and produces too many hormones, it causes a condition known as hyperthyroidism. It can result in many unpleasant and potentially serious health problems that will require treatment from a medical center.
What are the symptoms?
Due to the highly influential nature of thyroid hormones, there can be a wide range of symptoms. The most prominent ones are as follows.
- Mood swings
- Anxiety and irritability
- Weight loss
- Heat sensitivity
- Persistent fatigue
- Trembling or twitching
- Swelling in the neck
- Irregular heart palpitations
What are the treatments?
A patient will need to visit an endocrinologist to receive treatment for the condition. They specialize in diseases and issues that are caused by glands and hormones. Depending on the severity of symptoms, they may prescribe one of the following treatments for hyperthyroidism.
Typically medicines known as Thionamides are prescribed by a doctor to stop the thyroid from producing too many hormones. To make any noticeable changes, they need to be consumed for at least one to two months. Meanwhile, beta-blockers may also be given to provide some relief against symptoms. Once thyroid hormone levels return to normal, the dose will be steadily reduced and then eventually stopped. However, based on the condition’s severity, some people may need to take medication for years or even their lifetime.
Radioactive iodine treatment
It is a type of radiotherapy that doctors use to eliminate cells in the gland, thus reducing the number of hormones. A patient will have to consume a capsule or a drink containing iodine. They will then be subjected to a low dose of radiation which will target the cells.
Even though it does take a few weeks or months before a person sees any notable changes, it is considered a highly effective treatment that can cure the condition. After the treatment, some medicines will be prescribed to help manage the symptoms until the body can recover.
It is vital to note that women who are pregnant or nursing a child are not allowed to undergo this treatment. In addition, other individuals who are approved and receive radioactive iodine treatment need to take some precautions to ensure that those around them are safe. They should avoid any close contact with pregnant women or children for a recommended time. It is also essential that women should not get pregnant for six months, and men should refrain from fathering a child for a minimum period of four months.
In some cases, doctors may recommend surgery to remove the thyroid gland either partly or entirely. If the gland is severely swollen, serious eye problems are prevalent due to the condition, less invasive treatments are not possible, or symptoms return after such treatment.
Once the gland is removed, it will be impossible for the symptoms of the condition to resurface. However, medication will be required for the rest of a patient’s life to compensate for the lack of hormones.
Suppose you or your loved one have this condition. In that case, you need to visit a doctor specializing in endocrinology as soon as possible because less invasive treatments are most effective when done in an early stage.