The thyroid gland, which makes thyroid hormone, is responsible for controlling metabolism (turning food into energy). Hyperthyroidism, which is a condition when the body makes excessive thyroid hormone, can upset many normal functions of the body as weight control, heart rate, mood changes, etc.
Symptoms can be many and it is not essential that a person experiences all of them. Nonetheless, effective management of thyroid is important to avoid complications and its adverse outcomes.
Hyperthyroidism is necessarily not a life-threatening condition although serious problems are not inevitable. Bone problem, heart problem and thyroid storm can adversely affect healthy living. Some of hyperthyroidism causes may be eliminated without any treatment; but hyperthyroidism caused by Graves’ disease generally needs a systematic treatment to prevent it from getting worse.
Useful Ways of Management of Hyperthyroidism
Due to the absence of known ways of preventing hyperthyroidism, it becomes important to manage the condition once you have been diagnosed with it. Here are some useful ways which contribute significantly in the management of hyperthyroidism.
Determining the Cause Behind Hyperthyroidism
Determining the cause behind hyperthyroidism is important in outlining its treatment. This can be done through a combination of tests. Hyperthyroidism is very much likely to be detected during the course of treatment or diagnosis of another illness/medical condition. Mostly, hyperthyroidism is caused by Grave’s disease. Here, the body’s defense mechanism attacks the thyroid gland where there is a natural reaction through excessive formation of thyroid hormone. Other reasons of hyperthyroidism include a toxic nodule or toxic multinodular goiter. Hyperthyroid may also run in families.
Management of Graves’ disease is essential to manage hyperthyroidism. Treatment can include antithyroid drugs which can be implemented for 6-18 months. In case of a relapse, another treatment known as radioactive iodine can be implemented. Surgery is another option for management of hyperthyroidism. Other symptomatic treatment procedures can also be implemented for treatment and management of hyperthyroidism.
Implementing Radioactive Iodine
Radioactive iodine serves as the primary line of treatment for treating hyperthyroidism. Radioactive iodine is taken through mouth and absorbed by the thyroid gland.
This can lead to shrinking of the thyroid gland and consequent subsidence of the symptoms within few months. You may, however, need medication to replace thyroxine on a regular basis (possibly every day). This method of treatment is generally considered to be safe.
Administering Drugs and Other Treatment Options
Besides the radioactive iodine treatment method, some other procedures and drugs can help in managing hyperthyroidism. Depending on your age, severity of the disorder and physical condition, one of these can be implemented.
Anti-thyroid drugs, like propylthiouracil and methimazole, can reduce hyperthyroidism symptoms by reducing production of thyroid hormones. Treatment may be needed for a year or more even though symptomatic improvement can be seen earlier. However, there are side effects of using medication(s) which ranges from mild ones like skin rashes, fever or hives to the more severe ones like liver damage or increasing the possibility of infection. Sometimes, death can also happen. Owing to the possible harmful side effect(s) of propylthiouracil, it is generally used when you can’t tolerate methimazole.
Beta blockers are generally used for treating high blood pressure. These drugs basically help by reducing the heart rate and preventing palpitations. Although thyroid levels may not be directly affected, these drugs can ease your discomfort until the levels become normal. Side effects are integral to using beta blockers.
Surgical removal of (most of) thyroid is another option for treatment and management of hyperthyroidism. Pregnancy or other conditions can make it difficult to administer other treatment options like anti-thyroid drugs or radioactive iodine.
However, surgery has its after effects including lifelong treatment with levothyroxine for ensuring your normal thyroid hormone level. In case the parathyroid glands are also removed, medication will be obligatory in keeping the blood-calcium levels normal.
Lifestyle Changes and In-House Remedies
Treatment can ease the symptoms of hyperthyroidism and can make you feel better. Besides implementing the treatment procedures, you can adopt some ways of enjoying good health and minimizing discomfort.
If you have lost weight considerably, adding extra calories and protein can help elevate the diet. Meal planning and supplementing can serve well in the management of hyperthyroidism. Alternatively, there can also be unwanted and excessive weight gain. Here also, meal planning can help lose the extra calories without compromising on the nutrition aspect of diet. Sodium and calcium are crucial dietary considerations for managing hyperthyroidism. Consult your health care expert for the correct intake of calcium because hyperthyroidism can lead to thinning bones.
Coping through Adequate Care
Hyperthyroidism management entails prompt medical care. Deciding on the course of treatment is one of the most important parts of management of hyperthyroidism. Thereafter, careful follow-up and relaxation techniques can aid the healing process and give you a positive outlook. Exercising can be one good way to keep your body under check, regulate appetite and maintain bone density.
Photo Credit: http://endocrinesurgery.ucla.edu/patient_education_adm_hyperthyroidism.html