ZocdocAnswersWhat are the symptoms of having an overactive thyroid gland?

Question

What are the symptoms of having an overactive thyroid gland?

A lot of things have been going wrong with my body lately, from being really tired to getting sick a lot. A friend said it could have something to do with an overactive thyroid. What are the symptoms of this? Are a lot of things going wrong with your body a sign that you have an overactive thyroid gland?

Answer

I am sorry that you have not been feeling well recently. You should follow up with your primary care physician to discuss your symptoms, for a thorough physical examination, and to discuss potential work up and treatment. Your friend is correct that having an abnormally functioning thyroid can cause a variety of symptoms. However, being sick frequently is not common of a thyroid condition. Your physician can discuss the rest of your symptoms to determine if they could possibly due to a thyroid condition. The thyroid gland produces a hormone thyroxine, T4, which is converted to T3 and is important in metabolism and development. The pituitary (found in the brain) produces TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) which stimulates the thyroid to produce thyroxine. When these thyroid hormones levels are abnormal, a patient can develop hypothyroidism (low thyroid level) or hyerpthyroidism (high or overactive thyroid level). In testing for abnormal thyroid activity, a TSH level is often obtained as a screening test, but other hormone levels, such as T4 and T3 levels, may also be checked. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) include heat intolerance, weight loss, reduction in menstrual flow, increased appetite, anxiety, heart palpitation, and tremors. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, weight gain, constipation, headache, coarse skin, menstrual disturbances, and cold intolerance. Given the variety of symptoms that can be found with thyroid conditions and your concern for your symptoms, you should see your physician for a thorough examination and evaluation. Good luck.

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