Patients with hyperthyroidism often find that their racing metabolic rate also leaves them with excessive sweating and pulse rates
The whole world is going nuts trying to curb the number of calories they consume and is weight watching, but not you. Seemingly blessed with a wonderful metabolic rate, you can eat just about anything you want and yet stay as slim as ever. At the same time you are prone to having a faster pulse rate, nervous spells, mood swings and at times also face trouble getting to sleep no matter how tired you are. Ever wondered why this is happening? There’s probably more than just a splendid metabolic rate at play here. A medical check could probably throw up the possibility of you suffering from hyperthyroidism.
While for most people the first thing that strikes them about thyroidism is an overweight woman with several issues, what most forget is that there are two kinds of thyroidism – hypothyroidism (the thyroid gland is sluggish) and hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid gland). The thyroid hormone, which is released by the thyroid gland (situated in the neck), helps regulate the body metabolism rate. In patients with hyperthyroidism, the gland is overactive and releases too much of the thyroid hormone, which in turn speeds up the metabolic rate. So no matter what you eat, you’re bound to burn up those calories faster than you’d realise.
On the flipside though, since the thyroid gland is over active it releases so much of the hormone that your system goes into an over drive. Everything in the body speeds up. People who have hyperthyroidism face symptoms that are the opposite of those associated with hypothyroidism. The only common symptom is the irregular menstrual cycle. Patients with hyperthyroidism will find that they have an increased appetite and eat a lot, yet they lose weight. They will also suffer from insomnia, faster pulse rate, tremors in the limbs, have bulging eyes, pass stools frequently and have excessive sweating.
While hypothyroidism may be rather common in women, the incidence of hyperthyroidism is quite less. Hence, the lack of awareness and the common misconception that people with thyroid will put on weight and don’t lose weight. In fact, if 5 per cent of the population suffers from hypothyroidism then only around 0.5 to 1 per cent them will suffer from hyperthyroidism.
“Women can be affected by thyroidism at any age. It is most commonly seen in women between the ages of 18 and 30. When reported, we usually prescribe drugs that can suppress the over active thyroid gland and halt the excessive production of the hormone,” says Dr Prasun Deb, endocrinologist.
Initially, the lack of iodine in a person’s diet was considered to be the cause for thyroid problems in people. However, with the government having made it mandatory that all common salts be iodised, this problem has come down tremendously.
“However, having a thyroid problem can affect pregnancy. Which is why when a thyroid patient is pregnant she should be treated carefully as it is important for the growth of the baby. It is essential that they consult a specialist for treatment of thyroidism especially during pregnancy,” says Dr Prasun Deb.
In extreme cases, surgery is also suggested for patients with hyperthyroidism. If the thyroid must be removed with surgery then thyroid hormone replacement pills will be prescribed as well.