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Article: Hyperthyroidism | Thyroid Treatment | Thyroid Supplements

Hyperthyroidism 

Author:

Dr. Veena Deo

Definition and Overview

Hyperthyroidism, also known as thyrotoxicosis, is a condition characterized by the excessive functional activity of the thyroid gland. This overactivity results in an increased metabolic rate, enlargement of the thyroid gland, rapid heart rate, and high blood pressure. Common causes include Graves' disease, multinodular goiter, and autonomously functioning thyroid nodules.

Clinical Features of Hyperthyroidism

Common Signs and Symptoms:

  • Weight Loss: Despite increased appetite, weight loss is common, though some patients may experience paradoxical weight gain.
  • Heat Intolerance: Patients may feel comfortable at temperatures that others find cold due to an increased metabolic rate.
  • Increased Appetite
  • Dyspnoea (Shortness of Breath)
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Sinus Tachycardia (Fast heartbeat)

Less Common Signs and Symptoms:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Angina (Chest Pain)
  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Amenorrhea/Oligomenorrhea (Menstrual Irregularities)
  • Infertility
  • Ankle Swelling
  • Goiter with Bruit (Specific to Graves’ Disease)
  • Increased Pulse Pressure
  • Cardiac Failure (More common in elderly patients)

Rare Symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Anorexia
  • Apathy
  • Pigmentation
  • Gynecomastia (Enlargement of Male Breasts)
  • Lymphadenopathy (Disease of the Lymph Nodes)

Investigations

  • First-line Investigations: Measurement of serum T3, T4, and TSH levels. If abnormal values are found, the tests should be repeated.
  • Findings: In most patients, serum T3 and T4 are both elevated. In about 5% of patients, T4 may be in the upper normal range with elevated T3.
  • Atrial Fibrillation: Occurs in about 10% of patients with hyperthyroidism, with incidence increasing with age.
  • Thyrotoxic Crisis: A rare but life-threatening complication characterized by fever, agitation, confusion, and tachycardia.

Management and Treatment

Herbs for Treating Hyperthyroidism:

  1. Echinacea: Useful for treating hyperthyroidism.
  2. Bugleweed (Lycopus virginicus): Helps regulate TSH levels.
  3. Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca): Controls high heart rate and palpitations.
  4. Lemon Balm: Alleviates symptoms related to hyperthyroidism.
  5. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): Shows efficacy in Graves' Disease.

Recommendations:

  • Lemon Balm Tea: Advisable for symptom relief.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Beneficial for overall health.
  • Regular Exercise: Helps manage symptoms and maintain health.
  • Antioxidant-Rich Foods: Include berries, yogurt, turkey, salmon, blueberries, cherries, and tomatoes in your diet.
  • Calcium and Vitamin D: Important for bone health, as hyperthyroidism can thin bones.
  • Healthy Foods: Include cereals, lean meat, pulses, and sea vegetables like kombu and hijiki.

For Graves’ Ophthalmopathy:

  • Sunglasses: Protect eyes from sunlight.
  • Lubricating Eye Drops: Prevent dryness.
  • Cool Compresses: Relieve eye discomfort.

Lifestyle Adjustments:

Avoid Stressful Environments: Stress can exacerbate symptoms.

Foods and Substances to Avoid:

  • Artificial Sweeteners and Aspartame
  • Iodine-Rich Foods
  • Processed Meats
  • Kelp and Sea Salt
  • White Bread and Pasta
  • High-Fat Cooking Oils
  • French Fries and Donuts

Note:

Consult an Ayurvedic physician for appropriate dosages and detailed guidance on natural home remedies before beginning any treatment.