Hyperthyroidism creates excess thyroid hormone. Since the thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate the body's metabolism, not surprisingly, the disease increases the body's normal metabolic functions. This leads to weight loss, increased appetite, a fast or irregular heartbeat, sweating, nervousness, irritability, fatigue, and muscle weakness. Graves' disease, the leading cause of hyperthyroidism, is characterized by puffy or bulging eyes, light sensitivity, double vision, and increased tears. It can also lead to thick skin that feels hard to the touch. Goiter (an enlarged thyroid gland) is another way hyperthyroidism affects the body. It can make the neck appear swollen.
- Q Could my child be born without a thyroid gland?
- Q Are the night sweats related to my thyroid?
- Q When should I see a doctor about my thyroid?
- Q What is Graves' orbitopathy and what are the symptoms?
- Q What foods should I avoid if I have an underactive thyroid?
- Q Does hyperthyroidism affect children differently than adults?