About 12% of the American population, some 20 million Americans, suffer from a disease that can go silent and undetected for years, according to the American Thyroid Association. Of these 20 million Americans, an estimated 60% of them will never even know they suffer from the condition known as hyperthyroidism. Understanding the underlying cause and effects behind hyperthyroidism will increase community awareness of the condition; ultimately, Dr. Elijah Mobley’s goal is to increase awareness, screening, and treatment of hyperthyroidism within the Victorville community.
The hormone thyroxine is “good” for the body, in fact, it is essential; however, hyperthyroidism is a condition wherein too much thyroxine is released. Due to the flexibility of thyroid hormones within the body, when too much thyroxine is released it can lead to an array of unexpected, unrelated symptoms. Hyperthyroidism commonly causes abnormal weight loss, an irregular heartbeat, and sweaty palms. The imbalance of the hormones can also lead to other, more subtle disorders such as irritability, fatigue, or anxiety.
Hyperthyroidism can be caused by a number of factors, but the most common cause is a condition known as Graves’ disease. Graves’ disease is an autoimmune deficiency wherein the immune system, instead of attacking germs, will attack it’s own thyroid cells. The release of too much thyroxine is the effect of having the immune system attack the thyroid gland. Although there are no known causes of Graves’ disease, it is believed that individuals may be genetically predispositioned to acquire the disease.
Since there is little you can do to prevent hyperthyroidism, the best approach is to screen for the disease regularly. Consult a physician if any of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism persist, especially if you have a family history of thyroid problems. Detection and treatment are imperative because, if left untreated, hyperthyroidism can lead to serious conditions including osteoporosis, loss of vision, and even heart conditions.