What Is Hyper Function of the Thyroid Gland?
In this condition, due to the overactivity of the thyroid gland, there is an increased production of thyroid hormones which are constantly pushed into the blood, so that the whole metabolism of the body gets elevated As explained above, solitary nodule/s in a thyroid gland, or nodule/s of a multinodular goiter may become responsible for the overactivity of the thyroid glandIn this condition, due to the overactivity of the thyroid gland, there is an increased production of thyroid hormones which are constantly pushed into the blood, so that the whole metabolism of the body gets elevated.
As explained above, solitary nodule/s in a thyroid gland, or nodule/s of a multinodular goiter may become responsible for the overactivity of the thyroid gland.
The whole thyroid gland may become enlarged in many middle-aged or younger persons. The blood supply in such an enlarged gland may be increased markedly, so that on placing a hand on such a thyroid gland, a thrill may be felt. This autoimmune thyroid disease is called Graves'' disease - named after Robert Graves.
As a result of the increased metabolism/ activity of the body, the patient feels restless, tense or excited, and even emotionally upset. Fine tremors of the fingers/hands are usually noticed when the patient is asked to stretch forward both his arms with fingers opened wide.
Due to the same reason, the heart rate is markedly increased, and palpitation is a normal complaint. The pulse, while sleeping should be counted to differentiate the condition from nervousness/anxiety, in which case the pulse rate should be normal. On measuring the blood pressure, the upper or systolic blood pressure should be elevated, and the lower or diastolic should show a lower level. The difference between these two readings of blood pressure is called pulse pressure, which increases in such cases.
In some cases, and more so in young patients, other manifestations of the heart, like supraventricular tachycardia, atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure may occur, and one may think of a basic heart problem rather than a thyroid disease.
Another symptom of an overactive thyroid gland is a loss of weight in spite of an increased appetite. The skin is moist and warm even in cold weather, and one can easily feel this by touching the hands of the patient. Especially in Graves'' disease, the eyes may look prominent, or may even bulge out (exophthalmos).
Early symptoms/warning signals of a hyperactive thyroid gland:
In spite of the above symptomatology, the patient is often late in reporting his problem, may be more than a year, in some of the cases. Hence, whenever, one observes symptoms like palpitation, especially when there is an increased pulse rate in sleep, nervousness, loss of weight, one must look for a swelling/ nodule/ s in the thyroid and/or immediately consult the physician. It is not unusual to see the patient with a reasonably enlarged thyroid gland and he/she is totally unaware of it.
The disease may actually remain hidden for quite a long time, and may be precipitated when the patient feels mentally upset due to unforeseen circumstances. One should be more cautious when there is a positive family history of Graves'' disease.
Late cases of hyperactive thyroid gland:
However, if the patient has neglected his ailment, all through, weakness of the muscles of the limbs may develop (thyrotoxic myopathy). He may even suffer from a serious disorder / emergency called thyrotoxic crisis.