Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. This can lead to symptoms such as anxiety, weight loss, and irritability. If left untreated, hyperthyroidism can cause serious problems such as heart failure and osteoporosis.
Treatment for hyperthyroidism usually involves taking medication to control the amount of thyroid hormone produced by the thyroid gland. Surgery may also be necessary in some cases.
Hyperthyroidism is relatively common, affecting around 1% of the population. Women are more likely to develop hyperthyroidism than men, and it is most commonly diagnosed in people aged 20-40 years. However, the condition can occur at any age.
The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is an autoimmune disorder called Graves' disease. This occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland, causing it to produce too much thyroid hormone.
Other causes of hyperthyroidism include benign tumors of the thyroid gland (such as adenomas) and inflammation of the thyroid gland (such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis).
Hyperthyroidism can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are often similar to those of other conditions (such as anxiety disorders and thyroid cancer).
Blood tests can be used to measure the levels of thyroid hormone in the blood, which can help to confirm a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism.