Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism Hyperthyroidism

What is hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism is the medical term for an over functioning of thyroid gland. A lot of thyroid hormone is produced in individuals with this condition. Thyroid hormone is important for body metabolism. In hyperthyroidism the body's metabolism is increased, which can cause a variety of symptoms.

What are the causes of hyperthyroidism?

The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves' disease. Main etiology for this condition is Auto-immunity. The immune system produces an antibody called TSH Receptor Antibody, which stimulates the thyroid gland to produce too much thyroid hormone. This disease is more common in women between the ages of 20 and 40 years but can occur at any age in men or women. Other causes are nodules in the thyroid gland which produce excess thyroid hormone, Subacute thyroiditis and postpartum thyroiditis. Taking too much thyroid hormone tablets also can lead to a surge in thyroid hormone levels. 

Some of the patients with hyperthyroidism may not have any symptoms. If they have it, it may be weight loss, increased sweating, trembling of hands, weakness, palpitations, anxiety, irritability, frequent bowel movements and swelling in the neck. Untreated hyperthyroidism can cause irregular heartbeats. Women can present with irregular monthly periods, infertility and recurrent abortions.

How is hyperthyroidism diagnosed?

Hyperthyroidism can be diagnosed by measuring the amount of thyroid hormone (t3 and t4) and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Typically, the thyroid hormone level will be high, and the TSH level will be low. To determine the cause of hyperthyroidism, a thyroid scan called Technetium thyroid scan or a blood test  called TSH Receptor Antibody may be required.

Can thyroid function test for hyperthyroidism done at MAGNA?

Yes, MAGNA has state of the art facilities to do thyroid function tests. 

No preparation is required for these tests. They can be taken anytime and no fasting is required.  

What test is done if there is a doubt about hyperthyroidism?

Thyroid function test includes TSH, Total T4 or free T4, total T3 or free T3. These tests help in confirming hyperthyroidism biochemically. To establish the aetiology, tests like Thyroid technetium scan or TSH Receptor antibody may be required. Establishing aetiology is very important in decision making.

A thyroid technetium scan is a diagnostic imaging that allows to determine the function of the thyroid gland. This investigation helps in differentiating Graves’ Disease from toxic nodules or thyroiditis. 

What is the TSH receptor antibody test?

TSH Receptor Antibody (TRAb) test detects the antibody that is associated with Graves’ Disease. TRAb positive indicates that the patient is suffering from Graves’ Disease. In patients whom Thyroid technetium scan is not possible or contraindicated, TRAb levels can be measured. It’s a blood test which can be done at any time of the day. TRAB levels help in estimating the risk of relapse after the treatment for Graves’ Disease and also in predicting the risk to the fetus in pregnant individuals with thyroid disease. 

Is the TSH receptor antibody test available at MAGNA?

Yes, TRAb level measurements are done at MAGNA Lab. 

While taking treatment with antithyroid drugs, it’s ideal to have a blood test for thyroid hormone every four to six weeks until your hyperthyroidism is under control. Once levels are stabilized, monitoring can be done every quarterly.

Are there any side effects of medicines used to treat hyperthyroidism? 

Antithyroid drugs can lead to some minor side effects like rash, urticaria and stomach upset. Very rarely it can lead to serious complications like agranulocytosis (lack of white blood cells). Patients taking antithyroid drugs should inform their clinician immediately if they get a sore throat, fever, or any signs of a bacterial infection. Antithyroid drugs can be associated with liver damage rarely.

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