Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

Michael Rosenberg
Michael Rosenberg

Specializes in translating complex information into readable, engaging content.

What is hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid is a condition of thyroid in which it produces too much triiodothyronine (T3) and tetraiodothyronine (T3). The thyroid is a small gland, has a butterfly shape, and is located at the front of the lower neck. The thyroid produces two primary hormones, tetraiodothyronine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) which control the way and quantity of energy utilized by cells and regulate the rate and process of metabolism. 

If the thyroid produces an excessive amount of T4 and T3, then it will cause hyperthyroidism. You can reverse the effects of hyperthyroidism and its complications can be prevented if you get the disease diagnosed at the right time and start treatment for the underlying cause. 

Causes of hyperthyroidism

Many causes can trigger hyperthyroidism, one of them is an autoimmune disorder named Graves’ disease. In Graves’ disease, an excessive amount of thyroid hormones are secreted from the thyroid due to stimulation by antibodies and are more common in women. The people who are diagnosed with Graves’ disease, usually have a family history of this disease. So if you have hyperthyroidism, then tell the doctor if it runs in your family. 

Besides Graves’ disease, other causes of hyperthyroidism are:

  • Tumors in ovaries or testes
  • Excessive intake of iodine 
  • Benign tumors of the pituitary gland or thyroid gland
  • Thyroiditis, which is inflammation of the thyroid gland and causes the leakage of T4 and T3
  • Excessive intake of tetraiodothyronine through supplements or, medication

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Symptoms of hyperthyroidism

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism may vary from person to person, people with mild disease may have no symptoms, and they become visible when the degree of disease increases. 

Increase in metabolic rate

When your metabolic rate gets excessively high due to high amounts of T3, T4, or both, it may lead to a hypermetabolic state. You might experience rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, hand trembling, excessive sweating, low heat tolerance, weight loss, excessive bowel movements, and irregularity in the menstrual cycle in women in a hypermetabolic state. 

Goiter formation

This condition sometimes becomes visible when the thyroid gland swells into a goiter having a symmetrical or one-sided shape. Goiter is a condition in which your thyroid gland gets abnormally enlarged, which is located below your Adam’s apple. Goiter is normally painless but it can cause coughing and difficulty in swallowing or breathing. 


You may experience Graves’ disease-related condition known as exophthalmos, in which your eyes become prominent by bulging out from the anterior side of the orbit with bilateral or unilateral shape. 

Loss of appetite

Adults with ages more than 60 years might experience different symptoms than young people like they usually experience loss of appetite which causes weight loss. 


Hyperthyroidism is sometimes mistakenly considered as depression or dementia in people over age 60. They experience different symptoms from young people, one of them is getting irritated from people or want to have peace with loved ones. If your elders experience depression, then you should go for a hyperthyroidism test to rule out its possibility. 


People with hyperthyroidism get overactivity of the metabolic system which causes the increased motility leading to diarrhea and malabsorption. 

Trouble sleeping

Overactive thyroids increase the rate of your metabolism, which may disturb your sleep pattern leading to insomnia.  It causes sleep difficulty due to reaction from nervousness, fatigue, and weakness of muscles. Your sleep may be disturbed because overactive thyroids cause night sweats and excessive urination. 

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Hand’s tremor

In hyperthyroidism, the body metabolism rate is high which results in excessive production of energy by each cell of the body. This increased metabolism causes the excessiveness of nervous stimuli which results in hand tremors. 

Irregular heartbeat

The overactivity of the thyroid results in the disturbance of the heartbeat, making the heartbeat faster because it has to work harder. Overactive thyroids result in sinus tachycardia, a fast heart rate that could be more than 100 beats per minute, and atrial fibrillation which is the disorganized rhythm of the upper chambers of the heart. 

High blood pressure

People with hyperthyroidism experience lowering of diastolic blood pressure due to relaxation of blood vessels, but excessive thyroid hormones also increase the force by which the heart contracts causing an increase in systolic pressure.

Chest pain

People with hyperthyroidism often experience chest pain because the heart pumps forcefully, pumping more blood, and requires more supply of oxygen. If the patient already has clogged coronary arteries, then they can have chest pain because clogged coronary arteries are unable to carry the extra blood that the heart muscles require. 

Weight loss

Your body is producing enough thyroid hormones when you are a victim of hyperthyroidism.  An excessive amount of hormones makes them overactive and increases the rate of metabolism at rest. Increased rate of metabolism means you are burning more calories than needed which will cause weight loss. 

Trouble tolerating heat

You experience hyperthyroidism when an excessive amount of thyroxine is produced by the thyroid hormone, leading to a high rate of metabolism which will cause body temperature to rise. When your body temperature is already high then you become heat intolerant that may lead to blurred vision. 

Muscle weakness 

Overactive hormones may result in muscle disease, myopathy, which is a neuromuscular disorder and develops due to excessive production of thyroxine. Myopathy is a condition in which a patient experiences muscle weakness and even breakdown of muscle tissue. 

Mood swings

Overactive thyroids affect the mood deeply, causing anxiety or depression. You may get more severe mood swings if you are experiencing a severe disease. You might experience irritability, nervousness, anxiety, and restlessness. 


The overactive thyroids speed up the rate of metabolism, burning more calories than the body needs which may cause fatigue. Fatigue is a common symptom of hyperthyroidism, it may result from sleeplessness, disturbed sleep patterns, and anxiety. 

Menstrual changes

Increased thyroid hormones lead to the overproduction of sex hormone, binding globulin, which causes prevention in ovulation. Women with overactive thyroids experience missed periods frequently that decreases fertility and increases the chances of miscarriage during pregnancy. Change in your menstrual cycle can be a sign of thyroid disorder, so if you are experiencing it then go for the thyroid tests. 

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Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism and Thyroid Tests


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