is a hormonal imbalance caused by an overactive thyroid gland that most often leads to weight loss, insomnia,
restlessness, or rapid pulse. Outward physical also usually
include trembling hands, bulging eyes, and visible swelling of the thyroid gland resulting in a goiter, or bulging in the neck.
symptoms usually are seen in the most
severe form of the condition, known as Graves' disease, named
for Irish physician Robert Graves who first described common
symptoms in 1835.
Graves' disease can be treated in several ways.
common and most successful therapy in the U.S. is treatment
with radioactive iodine, which is ingested in either liquid
or pill form to basically shut down the thyroid. The patient
is then put on a course of thyroid medication (levothyroxine)
that they must take for the rest of their lives.
drugs such as Tapazole and PTU are also sometimes prescribed.
This course of the therapy can extend over several years.
If successful, it maintains the integrity of the thyroid gland
while bringing about a complete remission of the disease.
However, outcomes may be less successful with antithyroid
drugs with reported cures ranging anywhere from 30 to 50 percent.
(subtotal thyroidectomy) is also an option, in which the diseased
parts of the thyroid gland are cut away. However, this treatment
also requires patients to remain on thyroid medication for
the rest of the lives. Surgery may also involve risks, such
as damage to nearby parathyroid glands or vocal cords. Since
surgery is also typically more painful and almost always results
in scarring, radioactive iodine is usually the preferred choice.
all options should be thoroughly discussed with your doctor
before undergoing any treatment for hyperthyroidism.
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