Because symptoms generally come on gradually over weeks or months, you may have hyperthyroidism for a long time before you realize it. If you are an older adult, it may be even harder to recognize that something is wrong, because your only symptoms may be weight loss and/or
Symptoms vary so greatly from individual to individual, you may have one, more than one, all, or none of the following symptoms. There are many symptoms of hyperthyroidism. These may include: Restlessness, nervousness, and irritabilityFatigue and weakness may follow the restlessness and nervousnessHeat intoleranceHeart palpitations, irregular heartbeat, skipped beatsTachycardia—Rapid heartbeat and pulse.Unexplained weight loss—An increased metabolism means your body is burning calories more rapidly, thus you may lose weight even though you are eating more. However, 5%-10% of people with hyperthyroidism gain weight because they are eating more.Warm, moist skinIncreased bowel movements—Food travels more quickly through the gastrointestinal tract.Insomnia—You may have trouble sleeping in spite of the fact that you feel tired all the time.Tremor—If you stretch out your fingers, you may have a fine tremor.Menstrual irregularityLoss of libidoFine hair texture—Up to 40% of patients experience some baldness. This can last for months after the thyroid hormone level has been restored to normal
Bulging eyes (called exophthalmos)—This can occur in
Shortness of breath—This may occur when the hyperthyroidism is severe and the heart rate is rapid or there is an irregular pulse. Severe hyperthyroidism can result in heart failure.Swelling in legs
In individuals over age 65 years, hyperthyroidism may present with the following:
Heart failureAtrial fibrillationNo appetiteMuscle wastingDepressionForgetfulness
Hyperthyroidism (thyrotoxicosis). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/endocrine-and-metabolic-disorders/thyroid-disorders/hyperthyroidism. Updated May 2014. Accessed December 11, 2015.
Primary hyperthyroidism. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at:
http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/endocrine/primary-hyperparathyroidism/Pages/fact-sheet.aspx. Updated August 2012. Accessed December 11, 2015.
Vaidya B, Pearce SH. Diagnosis and management of thyrotoxicosis.
Brit Med J. 2014;349:g5128.
Last reviewed December 2015 by Kim A. Carmichael, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.