Overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism, isn’t as common as the opposite problem. The National Institutes of Health estimates that about 1 person out of 100 over the age of 12 in the United States has hyperthyroidism.
At Family Acupuncture and Wellness, Adam Learner, LAc, and his team take a holistic approach to health. By carefully considering your symptoms and overall health, Adam creates a plan to address your thyroid problems within the context of your overall well-being.
Your thyroid gland
Your thyroid gland is located at the base of your throat and is usually described as being butterfly-shaped. It’s an amazingly busy gland. The hormones it produces affect nearly every system in your body, and most of your organs.
Your thyroid hormones partially control your breathing, heart rate, sleep cycle, digestion, weight, and even your mood. Having too much or too little thyroid hormone can lead to issues with your fertility, heart, muscles—to name just a few.
Who gets hyperthyroidism?
Some people have a greater risk of developing overactive thyroid than others. For example, women develop hyperthyroidism more often than men. Other risk factors include:
- Having been pregnant or given birth within the past 6 months
- Had thyroid surgery or some other thyroid issue
- Being over 60 years old
- Having a family history of thyroid problems
- Being anemic
- Having type 1 diabetes
- Having too much iodine in your system
If you have any of those risk factors and you haven’t been feeling quite right, keep reading. Following are five common symptoms in people who have overactive thyroid.
1. Difficulty sleeping
When you have too much thyroid hormone, it can cause two problems that are related: fatigue and difficulty sleeping. You may have night sweats, or wake up to urinate multiple times each night.
2. A rapid heartbeat
Essentially, overactive thyroid can make the systems of your body speed up, including your heart rate. You may develop rapid heart rate even when you’re not exerting yourself, or your heartbeat could become irregular.
Without treatment, hyperthyroidism can lead to arrhythmia, a serious heart condition associated with an increased risk of stroke.
3. Frequent bowel movements
You may find that you need to go to the bathroom more often and that you have looser stools. Since your thyroid controls some aspects of your digestion, it’s not surprising that your bowels are affected.
You may also find that you’re hungrier than usual, yet lose weight. Increased appetite and unexplained weight loss can also be symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
4. Vision problems
An overactive thyroid can cause a problem called thyroid eye disease. Gritty-feeling eyes, a feeling of pain or pressure in your eyes, feeling sensitive to light, and bulging eyes are all symptoms of thyroid eye disease.
5. Feeling nervous or irritable
If you’re not usually anxious, but then begin to have symptoms of anxiety, it could be related to thyroid issues, especially if you also feel irritable or nervous.
Overactive thyroid can cause a tremor in your hands as well, which could be mistaken for part of the anxiety and nervousness. Sweating, too, is a symptom.
If you’ve been experiencing these kinds of symptoms, schedule an appointment at Family Acupuncture and Wellness. We are always happy to answer questions and help you find the best path to optimal health!