Hyperthyroid

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Hyperthyroid disease or hyperthyroidism is caused by over activity of the thyroid. When the thyroid gland produces an excess of thyroid hormone, which controls the body’s energy utilization, organ systems and cardiac rhythms, it can become a serious health issue. Hyperthyroid disease can be caused by several factors such as Graves’ disease, thyroid nodules and thyroiditis. In rare cases hyperthyroid disease can be associated with pituitary tumors, consuming high levels of iodine and high dosages of thyroid medication used to treat hypothyroidism (NIH, 2016).

There are various symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism. In many cases hyperthyroid disease is sometimes mistaken for depression or dementia. Older adults are likely to had different symptoms than younger adults. Common symptoms associated with hyperthyroid disease may include nervousness, irritability, fatigue/weakness, heat intolerance, sleep disturbance, hand tremors, irregular heartbeat, irregular bowel habits, weight loss, mood swings and goiter. If left untreated, hyperthyroid disease can lead to more serious health problems (NIH, 2016).

Maladaptive and Physiological Responses

Maladaptive responses to diseases can be described as compensatory mechanism that may eventually have adverse health effects. One of the major compensatory mechanisms associated with hyperthyroidism is the adrenergic response. With the thyroid hormone having a major impact on the energy homeostasis within the heart, increased levels of thyroid hormone creates a hyper-metabolic state. If left untreated it can be detrimental to heart function, causing heart failure and cardiomyopathy (Osuna, 2017).

Physiological responses to hyperthyroid disease are mainly a direct result of the adrenergic response and hyper-metabolic state. These bodies response to these responses cause symptoms such as  such as irregular heartbeat, weight loss, increased appetite, muscle weakness, fatigue and anxiety (Kravets, 2016). Maladaptive and physiological responses don’t necessarily differ, however it more of a cause and effect scenario. In response to increased levels of thyroid hormones both maladaptive responses occur which then go on to cause physiological responses.

Treatment

Treatment goals are aimed to bring thyroid levels back to normal, medication to inhibit thyroid production, radioiodine therapy, or thyroid surgery. Medications that are commonly used for treatment of hyperthyroid disease are beta blockers, which reduce symptoms until other treatments take effect. Beta blocks quickly relive cardiac and adrenergic related symptoms. Anti- thyroid medications are used to cause the thyroid to produce less thyroid hormone, which in turn alleviates the symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism once levels are normal (NIH, 2016).

Radioactive iodine is also a common method of treatment for hyperthyroid disease. Radioactive iodine-131 is taken by capsule or liquid and slowly destroys the cells associated with thyroid hormone production. Multiple treatments may be needed to bring thyroid levels to normal and alleviate symptoms Treatment is initiated based on the actual cause of the thyroid disorder (NIH, 2016).

Gender

                Gender has been established as significant clinical barrier in the diagnosis, prognosis and management of diseases. Studies have shown that males and females have different inclinations for development of thyroid dysfunction. Studies have shown that women are more often than men affected by metabolic and endocrine disorders including hyperthyroidism.  Prevalence of thyroid dysfunction increases with age in females and is likely due to estrogen and hormonal variations. While studies continue to be conducted, the limited data suggest the ant-thyroid medication effects women or men differently. However, men have been found to be more like to have a limited response to radioactive iodine. Treatment and management of hyperthyroid disease should include a complex plan. Genetic, environmental and other patient factors should be taken into consideration, when determining the most appropriate approach.

 

Reference

NIH.gov (2016). Hyperthyroidism (Overactive Thyroid). Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/hyperthyroidism#causes.

Osuna, P. M., Udovcic, M., & Sharma, M. D. (2017). Hyperthyroidism and the Heart. Methodist DeBakey cardiovascular journal13(2), 60–63. https://doi.org/10.14797/mdcj-13-2-60.

Kravets, I. (2016). Hyperthyroidism: diagnosis and treatment. American Family Physician93(5), 363.