Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
These are the common symptoms of hyperthyroidism
Thyroid hormone has effects on all parts of the body and helps control metabolism and the proper functioning of many of the body's organs. High levels of thyroid hormone can cause changes in mood and energy level. Often those with very high levels find that they are anxious and nervous, tremulous and occasionally develop panic attacks and psychosis. Hyperthyroidism has been associated with difficulties with concentration and memory as well as confusion and dementia. Although weight loss is often seen with hyperthyroidism, occasionally increased appetite can result in weight gain. Additionally, fatigue and depression are common side effects of high thyroid levels. Many of the specific symptoms depend on the cause of hyperthyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism can in ways mimic the natural "fight-or-flight" response that the body displays under stressful conditions. There are numerous cardiovascular effects of hyperthyroidism. A rapid or irregular heart beat, sweating, hot flashes and increase in blood pressure are often seen in those with an overactive thyroid. This hyperstimulation of the cardiovascular system can have serious consequences including fatal heart arrhthymias, heart failure and cardiovascular collapse. Luckily, these symptoms are often reversible with early detection and proper treatment.
Another consequence of untreated hyperthyroidism is bone-thinning and osteoporosis. High thyroid levels tend to leach the bones of their calcium making them unnecessarily brittle, leading to an increased risk of developing spinal and hip fractures. This usually does not cause high blood calcium, but mild hypercalcemia occurs in 15-20 % of patients with excessive thyroid hormone(1) This is due to hormone-induced bone resorption. This typically resolves after treating the cause of hyperthyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism can also cause hair loss, eye effects, and skin changes, intestinal issues as well abnormal menstrual periods which can result in complications during pregnancy including miscarriages and the abnormal development of the fetus.
(1) Burman KD, Monchik JM, Earll JM, Wartofsky L Ionized and total serum calcium and parathyroid hormone in hyperthyroidism. Ann Intern Med. 1976;84(6):668.
(2) Alikhan Z, Singh A Hyperthyroidism manifested as hypercalcemia. South Med J. 1996;89(10):997