The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the lower front part of the neck. Glands are organs located in different parts of the body. Glands make and release hormones, substances that aid body function and growth. The thyroid gland helps regulate your body temperature and control your heart rate and metabolism (the process that turns the food you eat into energy).
Hyperthyroidism is an overactivity of the thyroid. This means that your thyroid produces and releases more hormones than your body needs. This can affect your body and the way it functions.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism can include the following:
There are several causes of hyperthyroidism:
Both men and women can have hyperthyroidism, but it occurs most often in women aged 20-40.
Your doctor will do a physical examination and take a blood sample to measure your hormone levels. When you have hyperthyroidism, levels of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 are above normal, and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is lower than normal. Your doctor may also want to perform a thyroid scan, a picture of your thyroid to check its shape and to see if there are any nodules. This imaging can be done with a simple non-invasive and non-painful ultrasound if the doctor feels it is necessary.
There are many treatments for hyperthyroidism. Your doctor will help you determine what type of treatment is best for you. Treatments include the following:
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