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
There are many symptoms of hyperthyroidism. They are listed below, in general, from most frequent to less frequent.
Restlessness, nervousness, and irritabilityFatigue and weakness may follow the restlessness and nervousnessHeat intolerance—You may feel warmer than the people around youHeart palpitations, irregular heartbeat, skipped beatsTachycardia—a rapid heartbeat and pulseUnexplained 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
Because these symptoms vary so greatly from individual to individual, you may have one, more than one, all, or none of these symptoms. Your symptoms can be due to another medical condition.
In individuals over age 65 years, hyperthyroidism may present with the following:
Congestive heart failureAtrial fibrillationNo appetiteMuscle wastingDepressionForgetfulness
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Last reviewed December 2014 by Kim A. Carmichael, MD, FACP
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.
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