The Symptoms and Causes of Hyperthyroidism

Dr. Richard Bebb, MD, ABIM, FRCPC, Endocrinologist, discusses the symptoms and causes of hyperthyroidism.

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Dr. Richard Bebb, MD, ABIM, FRCPC, Endocrinologist, discusses the symptoms and causes of hyperthyroidism.
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Richard Bebb, MD, ABIM, FRCPC, Endocrinologist

The Symptoms and Causes of Hyperthyroidism

Duration: 2 minutes, 17 seconds

Another way that the thyroid gland can malfunction is to overproduce thyroid hormone.

We call that hyperthyroidism. If you want to conceptualize it, it's like having the accelerator on a car stuck down. Your metabolism revs right up.

Thyroid hormone in excess can make patients lose weight faster than anything else. It's incredible. If you starve yourself, you will not lose weight as fast as an overactive thyroid. It makes sense.

When you try and starve yourself, your body slows your metabolism and tries to conserve energy and conserve weight. But an overactive thyroid is, again, that analogy of the accelerator being stuck. You'll burn through calories incredibly.

Along with the symptoms of weight loss are symptoms of heat intolerance. The engine's burning very, very quickly. Fast heart rate. Palpitations. [thumps chest] Pounding heart. Shaking hand. Tremors. Sweating episodes. Sweating at night.

In the weight loss that occurs, there's a lot of muscle loss. Reversible when it's treated, but in the short term, you have muscle loss. Particularly in young people, they'll notice that they're really weak. Short of breath, as well.

For women, they may notice that their menstrual cycle becomes very light and, in fact, will sometimes stop completely until the thyroid condition is treated.

There are certain types of thyroid conditions causing hyperthyroidism. Some of them will affect your eyes, causing the eyes to become prominent, irritated, gritty, or watery. Other types of thyroid dysfunction will cause the thyroid to become painful and swollen. In fact, it can be so tender you can't even put your fingers on it because of the discomfort.

If you think you have an overactive thyroid, do check with your primary care practitioner, discuss your questions, and, if need be, have your thyroid tested.

Presenter: Dr. Richard Bebb, Endocrinologist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Endocrinologist

Video Quiz ( 9 participated.)

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:

Questions True False  
1 Hyperthyroidism is when your thyroid gland over produces thyroid hormone.

2 Patients with hyperthyroidism often suffer from symptoms of depression.

3 An hyperthyroidism causes a patients metabolism to increase substantially and therefor patients often experience rapid weight loss, muscle loss and sometimes weakness. 

4 Other symptoms of hyperthyroidism include heat intolerance, sweating (often at night), shaking hands and a rapid heart rate or pounding heart.


This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.