Advertisement

What is hyperthyroidism?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Hyperthyroidism results when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. The thyroid is a gland located at the base of the neck below the voice box. It is about two inches long and is shaped like a butterfly. Its purpose is to produce thyroid hormones, which regulate the body's metabolism. Hyperthyroidism can speed up the body's metabolism. This condition is also referred to as "overactive thyroid."

Hyperthyroidism is a disease in which the thyroid is hyperactive and makes too much thyroid hormone. Like most conditions of the thyroid gland, it is more common in women. Hyperthyroidism can be caused by either overproduction of thyroid hormone or excessive release of thyroid hormone from the thyroid gland due to inflammation and/or destruction. It is important to distinguish between these two causes, in order to choose the appropriate treatment. A thyroid uptake scan (also known as a radioactive iodine scan) can help tell the difference between these two causes. Problems causing thyroid hormone overproduction have increased uptake on thyroid scanning (a hot scan), while thyroid gland inflammation and/or destruction have low uptake on thyroid scanning. Overproduction of thyroid hormone is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism and can be caused by Graves' disease, toxic multinodular goiter, and toxic adenoma.

Continue Learning about Hyperthyroidism

is hyperthyroidism serious ?
Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhDDr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Yes, hyperthyroidism is serious. It is also treatable and not typically life threatening. When treat...
More Answers
what is Graves ophthalmopathy ( go ) ?
Riverside Health SystemRiverside Health System
Graves ophthalmopathy (GO) occurs when cells from the immune system attack muscles and other tissues...
More Answers
how can surgery treat hyperthyroidism ?
American Association of Endocrine SurgeonsAmerican Association of Endocrine Surgeons
Surgery for hyperthyroidism usually means removing the entire thyroid gland (total thyroidectomy) wi...
More Answers
an overactive thyroid may spell heart trouble
an overactive thyroid may spell heart trouble

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.