Hyperthyroidism is the medical name for an overactive thyroid gland. The thyroid organ in the neck regulates metabolism by producing the hormone thyroxine. People with hyperthyroidism have an excess of this hormone. An overactive thyroid can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms like anxiety, mood swings, weight loss, and sweating. It can also lead to serious cardiac issues if left undiagnosed and untreated. Graves Disease, an autoimmune condition, can cause hyperthyroidism, as can hyperactive nodules or inflammation in the thyroid. Family history plays a huge role in increasing risk, as well, and the condition is more common in women than in men. If left untreated, hyperthyroidism can lead to heart and eye problems and brittle bones.
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Sudden swelling in the neck is often how patients recognize the presence of hyperthyroidism. A thyroid goiter may be noticeable near the base of the neck, and will usually grow quickly. Other symptoms of hyperthyroidism include increased metabolism leading to sudden weight loss, difficulty sleeping and the onset of night sweats, a quick and irregular heartbeat that increases the likelihood of cardiac problems, and the onset of mental health issues such as anxiety, irritability, and mood swings.
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