Thyrotoxicosis, also called thyrotoxic crisis, is a disease related to the thyroid gland and its function. This condition must be treated by an experienced doctor under all circumstances. In this way, long-term effects and other diseases can be largely avoided.
What is thyrotoxicosis?
Thyrotoxicosis means “poisoning with thyroid hormones”. For i cell disease dictionary definitions, please visit foodanddrinkjournal.com.
It is a life-threatening metabolic disorder that occurs on the basis of hyperthyroidism, i.e. an overactive thyroid gland.
This means that the body is flooded with too much thyroid hormone and a variety of ailments occur.
Thyrotoxicosis can be identified by a sharp increase in hormone levels in the blood.
The reasons for the presence of thyrotoxicosis can vary greatly from patient to patient. An incorrect or too high dosage of thyroid hormones can be a reason for the outbreak.
Stress-related situations such as a myocardial infarction, accidents, burns, blood poisoning or an operation are also possible. Those affected often suffer from an overactive thyroid gland, which has not yet been diagnosed as such.
Rarer causes of hyperfunction can be inflammation of the organ or hormone-producing tumors. Both the thyroid itself and the pituitary gland can be affected by a tumor.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
External signs of this overproduction is often an enlarged thyroid gland, which is also referred to as “goiter”. Another cause may be functional autonomy. Parts of the thyroid gland or the entire thyroid tissue produce hormones independently. These autonomous areas are then no longer controlled by the pituitary gland.
Thyroid patients therefore often only receive an exact diagnosis after many weeks or months. They often report complaints such as inner restlessness, sleep disorders, panic and anxiety attacks, increased hair loss and accelerated digestion through to diarrhea.
You often have a large appetite, and there is a sudden and usually severe weight loss. Sweating, tachycardia and high blood pressure are also signs. In addition, trembling of the hands, shortness of breath or psychological changes such as irritability and nervousness can also be observed.
Depending on the severity of the symptoms, the well-being of the patient can be severely restricted. For some patients, normal everyday life becomes temporarily impossible. The large number of symptoms then has a very strong effect on the mental and physical resilience of the patient and can, for example, also promote psychological changes such as depression.
Diagnosis & course of disease
The diagnosis of thyrotoxicosis is usually made by a competent internist or a doctor who specializes in hormones ( endocrinologist ). For this purpose, a few very simple blood tests are carried out on the patient. For example – the TSH value, the FT3 value, the FT4 value, as well as the TPO and TRAK value are determined.
The TSH value is the value that indicates the ability of the pituitary gland to stimulate the thyroid gland to produce hormones. The FT3 and FT4 values indicate the concentration of free hormones in the blood and the TPO and TRAK values allow a more precise indication of an autoimmune disease of the thyroid gland. These are the so-called thyroid antibodies, which are responsible for diseases such as Hashimoto ‘s or Graves ‘ disease.
To further confirm the diagnosis, specialists also perform an ultrasound scan of the thyroid gland to determine the size of the organ and/or order a scintigram. In this widely used method, a small dose of radioactive liquid is injected into the vein of the patient before the examination and the thyroid gland is visualized using an imaging procedure. This allows you to see whether and how the thyroid gland is still working. Thyroid tumors or nodules can also be diagnosed more easily with this method.
As a rule, this disease does not heal itself, so that those affected are dependent on treatment in any case. Complications mainly occur if no treatment is initiated and the malfunction of the thyroid gland persists. Many sufferers develop a goiter in the neck due to thyrotoxicosis.
This is usually visible and also clearly felt. Being underweight or overweight and inner restlessness continue to occur. Sleeping problems or severe panic attacks can also occur and have a very negative effect on the patient’s quality of life. Many patients also suffer from hair loss and accelerated digestion. It is not uncommon for diarrhea to occur.
Furthermore, psychological complaints or depression often occur, which are accompanied by nervousness or irritability. The treatment of thyrotoxicosis is usually always aimed at the root cause. Usually there are no complications. In the case of a tumor, those affected are dependent on chemotherapy, which often has side effects.
When should you go to the doctor?
In the case of thyrotoxicosis, the person affected is usually always dependent on treatment by a doctor. This disease cannot heal itself, although the symptoms usually continue to worsen if the thyrotoxicosis is not treated and have a very negative effect on the quality of life of the person affected.
The earlier the thyrotoxicosis is recognized and treated, the better the further course of this disease is usually. In the case of thyrotoxicosis, a doctor should be contacted if the person concerned suffers from insomnia or general inner restlessness. In many cases, hair loss or severe panic attacks also occur, with some sufferers suffering from severe diarrhea as a result of the disease. It can also cause heart palpitations or high blood pressure. Increased irritability often indicates thyrotoxicosis.
The disease can be diagnosed by a general practitioner. Further treatment then depends on the exact cause and is carried out by a specialist. Since thyrotoxicosis can also lead to psychological upsets or depression, psychological counseling should also be sought.
Treatment & Therapy
Treatment of the patient, depending on the cause of thyrotoxicosis, can be completely different. If the cause of the symptoms is, for example, a tumor in the pituitary gland, this must be surgically removed and, if necessary, subsequent chemotherapy must be initiated. In Graves’ disease, a dysfunction in which the thyroid gland can become very large and proliferate, the thyroid gland is often partially or completely removed.
In addition, preparations are usually administered in combination, which are intended to inhibit the function of the thyroid gland. Patients who suffer from artificially produced thyrotoxicosis because they have taken too high a dose of thyroid hormones over a certain period of time benefit from a reduction in the hormone dose. Treating a thyroid disorder can be quite lengthy.
The body often only responds to the hormonal changes after days or weeks. Therefore, during the course of therapy, a lot of patience is required from the patient and the treating doctor. Any concomitant diseases that may arise must also be treated. For example osteoporosis or an eye disease.
Preventing thyrotoxicosis is not easy and not always possible. However, if you feel the symptoms mentioned above and are not quite sure, you should definitely consult a doctor. Those with a genetic family history of thyroid disease should be especially vigilant.
Patients who are already taking hormone preparations for the thyroid gland should have regular check-ups with their doctor. Measuring hormone levels at least twice a year is the best choice here. Depending on the type and course of the disease, an examination once a quarter or more frequently may even be indicated. The intervals are determined by the specialist.
In the case of a pathological hyperthyroidism, too high a quantity of hormones is released. This pathological condition is a burden for the organism. Frequently, secondary symptoms occur, which are caused by thyrotoxicosis. The most common diseases include high blood pressure and an increased heart rate, an intense need to eat while losing weight, and drowsiness or inner restlessness.
There is a risk of goiter formation in the thyroid gland. For these reasons, follow-up care is necessary. The physical symptoms should be treated and eliminated so that the patient can live symptom-free again. At regular follow-up appointments, the thyroid gland is checked for growths. Treatment is by administering drugs designed to regulate hormone production.
The specialist checks the healing success and tolerability. In case of side effects, he prescribes more appropriate medicine. If there is no noticeable improvement or if the healing takes too long, he varies the dosage. After successful therapy, follow-up care is scheduled. The patient has to come to the check-up appointment at certain intervals.
During the examination, the doctor determines both the activity and the extent of the thyroid gland so that changes can be diagnosed at an early stage. If there is a suspicion of goiter, a biopsy of the thyroid tissue will provide further information.
You can do that yourself
Individuals with thyrotoxicosis suffer from numerous ailments that interfere with their daily lives. In order to counteract these symptoms and positively influence one’s own quality of life, various self-help measures are possible.
People with thyrotoxicosis, for example, often suffer from nervousness and even anxiety. Relaxation techniques that are integrated into everyday life are suitable for alleviating these symptoms. These techniques can be used for both mental and physical relaxation. For example, meditation, yoga, autogenic training or Pilates are possible. Sporting activities also help to reduce nervousness and agitation. Endurance sports are particularly good. For example, patients with thyrotoxicosis can go jogging or swimming regularly. Exercise can also help to reduce the muscle weakness that is also associated with thyrotoxicosis, as the muscles are actively trained and developed.
If patients suffer from weight loss despite sufficient calorie intake, a nutritionist should be consulted after the doctor. This creates a menu that is individually tailored to the patient and allows for an increased calorie intake. If the body weight nevertheless decreases, medical interventions may be necessary. Those affected can also at least partially counteract hair loss with an adapted diet and a generally healthy lifestyle that is as stress-free as possible.