The endocrinologists at Hattiesburg Clinic have extensive experience diagnosing and treating both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism Overview

Hattiesburg Clinic’s endocrinologists specialize in thyroid disorders and other conditions involving hormone-producing glands. As a vital organ of the endocrine system, the thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ comprised of two lobes. It is located at the front of the neck just below the larynx where its two lobes split the windpipe. The gland is responsible for producing hormones, including triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), that control the way the body’s cells use energy.

What is hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland releases abnormally high levels of thyroid hormones.  An overactive thyroid increases metabolic processes. Patients with this condition are likely to experience a rapid heart rate, weight loss, increased appetite and anxiety.

What are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism?

There are a range of symptoms that impact the entire body. Patients with hyperthyroidism may experience some or many of these symptoms at the same time. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism may include:

  • Weight loss without trying
  • Tachycardia – rapid heartrate or palpitations
  • Arrhythmia – irregular heartbeat
  • Increased appetite
  • Nervousness, anxiety or irritability
  • Tremors, shakiness of the hands
  • Changes in menstrual cycles
  • Excessive sweating, increased sensitivity to heat
  • Diarrhea, more frequent bowel movements
  • Enlarged thyroid gland, swelling of the neck
  • Muscle weakness
  • Sleep issues
  • Thinning of skin, warm and moist skin
  • Vision changes, swelling or redness of eyes
  • Hair loss and change in texture

What are the causes and risks of hyperthyroidism?

There are different diseases and risks that can lead to hyperthyroidism, including:

  • Graves’ disease – The most common cause of hyperthyroidism, contributing to approximately 85 percent of cases; a heredity condition where your immune system attacks your thyroid, causing your thyroid to release a high level of hormone
  • Thyroiditis – Inflammation of the thyroid gland caused by a viral infection, medications or following pregnancy
  • Thyroid overmedication
  • Thyroid nodules – Growth of cells within the thyroid gland
  • Consuming too much iodine through imaging tests with iodine contrast, medication or iodine-rich food

The following characteristics put patients at a greater risk of having hyperthyroidism:

  • You are female.
  • You are over the age of 60.
  • You or your family have a history of thyroid problems.
  • You have other autoimmune conditions.
  • You are pregnant or have given birth within the last six months.

How is hyperthyroidism diagnosed?

Hyperthyroidism can be diagnosed using several different methods, including:

  • Physical exam – Physicians may want to conduct an assessment to check if patients are experiencing symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
  • Blood tests – Your provider may order lab work to check for high levels of thyroid hormones T3 and T4 and lower levels of TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone).
  • Radioactive Iodine Uptake (RAIU) test – This test involves ingesting a small dose of radioactive iodine to assess how much of the radiotracer the thyroid absorbs.
  • Thyroid scan – An extension of the RAIU test, a special device called a gamma camera takes images of your thyroid. The radiotracer brightens the thyroid gland to detect the presence of lumps or nodules, inflammation, swelling, enlargement or thyroid cancer.
  • Thyroid ultrasound – This is a non-invasive procedure using high-frequency sound waves to create images of the thyroid to detect nodules on the thyroid.

How is hyperthyroidism treated?

There are a variety of treatment options for hyperthyroidism. The identified cause of hyperthyroidism determines which option may be the best approach for you and your condition. It is important to discuss each option with your health care provider and together, determine your treatment plan.

  • Anti-thyroid medications are used to control your thyroid’s hormone production.
  • Radioiodine is an oral medication absorbed by thyroid cells to reduce the level of hormones produced by the thyroid gland.
  • Thyroidectomy is a surgical procedure performed to remove the thyroid gland.
  • Beta blockers are used to block the impact that thyroid hormones have on the body.
  • Steroids may be used to reduce inflammation caused from thyroiditis.

What is the difference between hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism?

Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are medical conditions of the endocrine system that involve the level of hormones the thyroid gland produces and releases. Hyperthyroidism involves having an overactive thyroid, and hypothyroidism is having an underactive thyroid. With “hyper,” the thyroid gland produces more thyroid hormones than your body needs, and with “hypo,” the thyroid does not release enough hormones that are needed for your body.

Patients with hyperthyroidism may experience an increase in metabolism and heart rate along with weight loss without trying. With hypothyroidism, the metabolic process slows, and patients may experience weight gain and fatigue.

What are my next steps?

Hattiesburg Clinic’s endocrinologists specialize in diagnosing and treating both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Our practice is equipped with the most advanced technology and diagnostic techniques to perform ultrasound imaging and biopsies in-clinic. If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, it is important to schedule an appointment with your health care provider. If there is concern of a thyroid issue, you will be referred to an endocrinologist for further diagnostics and a treatment plan unique to you and your health condition.

Hattiesburg, MS
5909 Hwy. 49
Ste. 30
Hattiesburg, MS 39402
Get Directions
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Back to Top