Risk factors for hyperthyroidism include the following: previous viral infections, post pregnancy state, middle aged group (30 to 40 years old), family history of hyperthyroidism, gender (women with higher percentage of risk compared to men), ethnic background (people of Japanese descent are shown to have higher risk of acquiring the disease).
Those who are also used to a salt-water fish diet and those living near coastal areas are also prone to having hyperthyroidism. Excess intake of iodine may also play a role in the occurrence of the disease.
Examinations and Diagnostic Procedures for Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism is usually diagnosed by medical history. Physical assessment, evaluation, and blood tests may also be used to diagnose the disorder. The physical examination includes palpation of your thyroid gland. The doctor will ask you to swallow and feel the rubbery part in the neck. Usually, doctors know the normal size of the gland. If they feel an enlargement in the area, they may conduct more tests to confirm the diagnosis.
Certain levels of TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) and thyroxine in your body are indicative of the disorder. Therefore, blood tests are the confirmatory tool used to diagnose the disease. An increase in thyroxine and low amounts of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone may mean Hyperthyroidism. If blood tests are suggestive of the disorder, the doctor may have an RAI (Radioactive Iodine Uptake) performed on you. This procedure can destroy the gland and can therefore lower the excess levels of hormones in your body.
Some doctors also suggest ultrasound and other imaging studies. This will help them visualize the affected organ and can therefore make evaluations for the treatment to get started.
Medications for Hyperthyroidism
Various treatment methods for Hyperthyroidism are available. The treatment option depends on the severity of your condition and your age as well. There are drugs which effectively lower the thyroid hormones. There are also radioactive pills which are designed to destroy the gland. The gland reduces in size when these radioactive pills are taken, thus lowering the levels of excess hormones in your body. For about three to six months, this type of medication will be given to the patient. After the gland is fully destroyed, lifetime intake of medications will be necessary.
For younger people, anti-thyroid medications are advised. This prevents destruction of the thyroid gland and will only regulate the hormones released by the body.