Hyperthyroidism describes a condition in which there is too much thyroid hormone. This may be a result of a thyroid gland which is producing too much thyroid hormone, but can also result from taking too high a dose of thyroid replacement medication.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism are variable, and in older patients may be atypical, but include: Heart palpitations, weight loss, fatigue, sweating, and heat intolerance.
Hyperthyroidism may be a result Graves’ disease in which the thyroid gland is enlarged and produces excessive hormone. It may also be a result of a nodule in the thyroid gland which is overactive.
Depending on the etiology, management of hyperthyroidism may require surgery to remove the offending nodule, or gland that is overproducing thyroid hormone, medications to suppress thyroid hormone production or radioactive iodine treatment to ablate the gland and destroy the tissues overproducing thyroid hormone. The decision making process in these situations requires close collaboration between the patient, endocrinologist, and thyroid surgeon.