Betty asks…

What are the medical problems related to hyperactive thyroid? Does it affect organs , growth?

Son has hyperactive thyroid just eager to find out what to expect. Hes 4 years old. He weighs 30 pounds he eats good ,and is very very active. Give him daily vitamins and always make sure he goes to bed with a fulle belly. But fighting a losing battle. Waiting on doctor to see him. Has flu rite now so cant run test but doctor is pretty sure thats what it is. What medications are available and what are the side effects? Will he gain too much weight afterwards ?

Helen answers:

Common causes of hyperthyroidism are :
* Grave’s disease
* Toxic multinodular goiter
* Solitary toxic adenoma

Also : * De Quervan’s subacute thyroiditis.

There are a few other conditions where hyperthyroidism can sometimes occur.

Individuals with hyperthyroidism are hyperactive, restless, prefer cooler places, may feel excessively hot and have excessive sweating, palpitations, protruding eyeball, hot moist palms, may even have diarrhoea, weight loss and an increased appetite and can have a goiter (patients usually have several, if not all, of these features).

But I don’t know of hyperthyroidism increasing the person’s susceptibility to infection, or delaying recovery from infection, as you seem to be worried in the case of your son.

For treatment, the physician will perhaps start with methimazole (or carbimazole), and if it causes jaundice or increases vulnerability to infection, propylthiouracil (PTU). (Propranolol may have to be added if symptoms like palpitation, sweating are creating major trouble.)

So this drug (carbimazole / methimazole / PTU) will be administered for about 8 – 12 weeks with regular assessment of hormone levels. When the hormone levels are back to normal, the drug may be continued at a lower maintenance dose for another 18 months if it is Grave’s disease.

If it is toxic multinodular goiter or solitary toxic adenoma, the physician may, after normalising the hormone levels, opt for radiotherapy. Radiotherapy can be given by external beam radiation, or by ingesting drugs containing radioactive iodine that will selectively exert its action on the thyroid gland.

Surgery would be needed only if the patient has an enlarged thyroid gland which is compressing on the trachea or oesophagus, or is simply looking odd. Otherwise, drugs and radiation will suffice.

Side-effects of treatment mainly involve too much suppression of the thyroid so that the patient becomes hypothyroid. In that case, the physician may prescribe hormone supplementation.

Addressing your worries about your son gaining too much weight afterwards, I don’t think that is a possibility (unless he unfortunately becomes hypothyroid due to treatment and then hormone supplementation is not given). So, there is not much for you to worry about his flu, or about gaining weight.

But I didn’t understand why you said “fighting a losing battle”. Perhaps you could clarify.

In any case, wish you be well.

Jenny asks…

Has anyone had the radioactive iodine treatment for an overactive thyroid and if so did it work?

Were there any side effects?

Helen answers:

Radioactive iodine treatment for Grave’s disease (overactive thyroid) is the treatment of choice. It is reasonable safe, and usually very effective. The main side effect is that you will become permanently hypothyroid (low thyroid), and eventually will need to take thyroid replacement therapy.

Grave’s disease left untreated can be a serious life threatening illness. Alternative treatments include surgery and some medications. Medications have the drawback of not being a permanent solution. Surgery is riskier in terms of side-effects than radioactive iodine.

Sandra asks…

Why medicine do they put you on if you have a thyroid problem?

Please help! I have to get blood work done Monday. And if I do I will be put on medication an wanted to know what it is and what it does? Thanks! (:

Helen answers:

If you are very definitely hypothyroid, you take a thyroid hormone pill, and they may prescribe that even off of just one blood test.
If you are hyperthyroid, they’d want to do a zillion tests before putting you on anything.

For hypothyroidism, thyroid replacement hormone pills are:
levothyroxine, which is sold under the brand names Eltroxin, Estre,Euthyrox,Levo-T,Levotabs, Levothroid, Levoxyl, Novothyrox, Synthroid, Thyrox, and Unithroid. Levothryoxine is just T4, and most people can convert that to T3.
Thyrolar, which is a mixture of T3 and T4, is made for people who can’t convert the T4 into T3.
Cytomel is just T3.

Thyroid hormone does a lot of things, including making you feel more active, hungry, awake, makes your heart beat faster.
Some doctors put people on medications for hypothyroid when tests are only slightly off, while others want to see the results be really abnormal, and others decide based on symptoms. Some doctors will want to check for thyroid antibodies, and if negative, for even more causes; others won’t.

If you were hyperthyroid, they’d want to be sure they knew what was causing it before treating it because all of the treatments for hyperthyroidism are kind of a big deal and sometimes it goes away on its own. If your TSH is low and/or T3 and T4 are high, you may be tested for thyroid antibodies, get an iodine uptake scan, and maybe an ultrasound. If it turned out you had true hyperthyroidism from something like Grave’s Disease, you’d have three treatment options: you could have surgery to remove the thyroid, you could take a radioactive iodine pill to weaken your thyroid, or you could take thyroid suppressing medication (this can have dangerous side effects like making your body stop making a certain type of blood cell).

Daniel asks…

treatment of hyperactive thyroid disease?

im 13 years old and i’ve inherited hyperactive(not hypo) thyroid disease from my mom. i get shaking hands, loss of sleep and anxiety. what are the treatments for this for someone my age? is there a medication or any home remedies??

Helen answers:

Hi there,

Please get medical treatment. I had thyroid symptoms over 5 years ago but was never treated. By the time I went to see a specialist, my symptoms had changed so I thought they went away, and I couldn’t afford the medical care. Now it’s 5 years later and I have been diagnosed with Graves Disease as the cause of my hyperthyroidism. I have been dealing with severe adrenal fatigue and hypoglycemia for the last 6 months since they’re common with thyroid problems, along with a LONG list of thyroid symptoms (both hypo and hyper symptoms). For a list of symptoms of both hypo and hyper, go here: http://thyroid.about.com/od/symptomsrisks/a/symptomsrisks.htm
If you don’t get treatment, your condition will eventually worsen.

If you’re hyper, you should get an Uptake & Scan thyroid test (it’s not scary or painful) to determine the cause and the best course of treatment. I’m on a low dose of PTU, as well as megadoses of vitamins. Please do a lot of research so you can understand your condition and what you can do to treat it. Unfortunately, not all doctors (even Endocrinologists, who specialize in thyroid disease, along with disorders like diabetes) understand thyroid disease so you must be own best advocate. There are tons of good books on Amazon about thyroid disease, adrenal fatigue and vitamins, and helpful websites like thyroid.about.com. Eating whole and organic foods, and avoiding white sugar, white flour, processed foods, caffeine, alcohol and smoking helps a lot. Don’t rush into a treatment like RAI (Radioactive Iodine Treatment) until you understand what it entails.

I highly recommend vitamins in addition to thyroid medication. Vitamins are 2,000 times safer than drugs! And they rarely have dangerous side effects, unlike drugs. Amino acids like L-tryptophan and 5-HTP are helpful for insomnia. Minerals like selenium, magnesium and zinc will help with anxiety. It’s also important to remember that no single vitamin is a magic bullet and a good multivitamin is recommended. I’ve been taking vitamins for over two months and most of my symptoms have greatly improved and/or disappeared (I noticed a difference within a day or two with some symptoms, and some symptoms take longer to correct, depending on how long you’ve been dealing with a deficiency). These two books are very helpful for which vitamins to take:

Feeling Fat, Fuzzy, or Frazzled?
Http://www.amazon.com/Feeling-Fat-Fuzzy-Frazzled-Reproductive/dp/0452285569/ref=pd_bbs_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1195420741&sr=1-2

The Real Vitamin and Mineral Book
http://www.amazon.com/Real-Vitamin-Mineral-Book-4th/dp/158333274X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1195421588&sr=1-1

To clarify Bitsy’s comment, hyper is overactive & hypo is underactive.

Good luck!

Mary asks…

thyroid blood test OK still got graves disease got duple vision Any one knows anything how to treat ?

Helen answers:

Graves disease is a thyroid disorder characterized by goiter, exophthalmos, “orange-peel” skin, and hyperthyroidism. It is caused by an antibody-mediated auto-immune reaction, but the trigger for this reaction is still unknown. It is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism in the world, and the most common cause of general thyroid enlargement in developed countries.Treatment of Graves’ disease includes antithyroid drugs which reduce the production of thyroid hormone, radioiodine (radioactive iodine I131), and thyroidectomy (surgical excision of the gland). As operating on a frankly hyperthyroid patient is dangerous, prior to thyroidectomy preoperative treatment with antithyroid drugs is given to render the patient “euthyroid” (i.e. Normothyroid).

Treatment with antithyroid medications must be given for six months to two years, in order to be effective. Even then, upon cessation of the drugs, the hyperthyroid state may recur. Side effects of the antithyroid medications include a potentially fatal reduction in the level of white blood cells. The development and widespread adoption of radioiodine treatment has led to a progressive reduction in the use of surgical thyroidectomy for this problem. In general, RAI therapy is effective, less expensive, and avoids the small but definite risks of surgery.

Therapy with radioiodine is the most common treatment in the United States, whilst antithyroid drugs and/or thyroidectomy is used more often in Europe, Japan, and most of the rest of the world.

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