Hyperthyroidism in women and men
Hyperthyroidism is the release of large amounts of thyroid hormones into the bloodstream. The disease can be congenital, in this case it will make itself felt almost immediately after the birth of the child. Acquired hyperthyroidism develops at any age. Most often, women suffer from pathology. Men get sick 5 times less often.
All processes in the body with hyperthyroidism are gaining maximum speed, and feelings are exacerbated. As a result, organs wear out quickly, and a person may die. To start treatment on time, you need to know the main symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
- What is hyperthyroidism?
- Hyperthyroidism symptoms
- Hyperthyroidism causes
- Hypothyroidism and hypothyroidism: what are the differences?
- Types of hyperthyroidism
- Forms of hyperthyroidism
- Diagnosis of hyperthyroidism
- Hyperthyroidism treatment
- Complications of hyperthyroidism
- Prevention of hyperthyroidism
What is hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism is a disease in which the thyroid gland works too actively, which leads to an excessive release of its hormones T3 (thyroxine) and T4 (triiodothyronine) into the blood. They enter all tissues of the body and accelerate their natural metabolic processes. Hormonal imbalance negatively affects the state of the immune system, leads to a general deterioration in well-being and damage to the adrenal glands. Moreover, with hyperthyroidism, the patient may develop a coma, which will lead to death. Therefore, the symptoms of pathology should not be ignored. In medicine, hyperthyroidism can be found under the term "thyrotoxicosis".
Features of hyperthyroidism in women
According to some statistics, in women, hyperthyroidism occurs not 5, but 10 times more often than in men. Experts attribute this to the fact that it is the female body that is more susceptible to hormonal fluctuations throughout life. A surge in hormones occurs during each menstrual cycle, during pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and during menopause. First of all, the load falls on the thyroid gland.
Therefore, all women need to visit an endocrinologist at least once a year for preventive purposes. The doctor should not only examine the thyroid gland, but also give a referral to donate blood to determine the level of thyroid hormones in it.
Features of hyperthyroidism during pregnancy
If a woman suffers from hyperthyroidism, then after the conception of a child, the symptoms of the disease will become more intense. Treatment is mandatory, otherwise the patient may develop a myxedema coma. This condition is fatal in 80% of cases.
Congenital hyperthyroidism is dangerous for newborn babies. If the child does not receive treatment, he will die. Therefore, all women who plan to become a mother must be tested to detect latent hyperthyroidism. This will give birth to a healthy baby.
Features of hyperthyroidism in men
In men, hyperthyroidism develops less often, but at the same time they develop a latent form of the disease, which does not give pronounced symptoms. For this reason, men begin to receive treatment when it is already ineffective. Moreover, it is not possible to cope with the violation either with the help of medicines or with the help of an operation.
Hyperthyroidism affects the functioning of the reproductive system. High levels of thyroid hormones lead to increased levels of SHBG (a protein that binds male sex hormones). For this reason, the level of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone decreases, which means that potency deteriorates, serious changes occur in the qualitative composition of the semen.
Even in the early stages of the development of bulging, a person immediately seeks medical help. While a goiter growing in the neck can endure for years, despite the fact that it disrupts the process of swallowing food. In addition to these symptoms, a patient with hyperthyroidism has disturbances in the functioning of all internal organs. They suffer from the toxic effects of a huge amount of thyroid hormones on them.
Symptoms in women
In women, the symptoms of hyperthyroidism cannot go unnoticed, since they immediately affect their appearance. The thyroid gland regulates the work of all internal organs, so they will also suffer. The patient will begin to gain weight, her performance will deteriorate, and certain changes in mood will occur.
The central nervous system of patients with hyperthyroidism is impaired. A woman becomes whiny, her sleep worsens, and mood swings occur. Other signs of hyperthyroidism include changes in appearance. The patient's hair begins to fall out, nails exfoliate, and the skin deteriorates. The thyroid gland itself increases in size. Therefore, even with a slight swelling, you need to consult a doctor.
System and organ disorders:
- Central nervous system. Sleep worsens, irritability appears. A woman may notice panic attacks that were absent before. Cognitive abilities deteriorate.
- The cardiovascular system. The patient develops persistent sinus tachycardia, the pulse quickens, the blood pressure rises.
- Vision. The eyeball shifts forward, becomes inactive. A woman has a split in her eyes, lacrimation increases.
- Exchange processes. The woman is dramatically losing weight, although her appetite increases. Excessive sweating develops in parallel.
- Muscles. The woman looks tired and weakened, she cannot tolerate intense physical activity. Even walking short distances becomes impossible for her. Muscle pain and weakness make it difficult to move.
The reproductive system. The menstrual cycle is disrupted, infertility may develop. Even if it is possible to conceive a child, the patient most often has a miscarriage. Bleeding during menstruation is scanty, the stomach is swollen and painful.
Symptoms in men
The symptoms of hyperthyroidism in men have certain differences from the symptoms of the disease in women.
At the same time, there are some similar signs, including:
- Loss of appetite.
- Increased sweating.
- Increased anxiety.
- Poor heat tolerance.
- Deterioration of cognitive abilities.
- Losing weight.
First, the man begins to lose weight. The activation of metabolic processes leads to increased appetite. With age, a man begins to gain weight, and significantly.
Rare symptoms of hyperthyroidism in men include:
- The skin becomes "sticky".
- Hair begins to fall out.
- The hands are shaky.
- Diarrhea develops.
- Nausea and vomiting may be troubling.
- Weakness increases.
The heart can beat faster, and the acceleration of its rhythm occurs even at rest. Contractions of the heart muscle lose their former regularity, become stronger. Many patients indicate that their heart is literally "bursting out of the chest." In older men, heart failure develops.
The cause of hyperthyroidism in men is often an autoimmune disease that occurs against the background of Graves' disease. Therefore, immune cells begin to attack the tissue of the gland, forcing it to produce hormones in excess. If the cause of hyperthyroidism was indeed Graves' disease, then the organs of vision will be involved in the pathological process.
Changes that occur in men:
- Swelling appears around the eyes.
- The eyeballs begin to bulge outward.
- The eyes are very irritated.
- Lachrymation increases.
To date, the exact reasons for the development of hyperthyroidism have not been established. Often the latent (subclinical) form of the disease is inherited. Various external factors negatively affect the performance of the thyroid gland. The disease develops mainly in people over 50 years old.
Causes in men
In men, hyperthyroidism can develop for the following reasons:
- Genetic predisposition.
- Frequent stress.
- Living in areas with low levels of iodine in food.
- Alcohol abuse, smoking.
- Poor environmental situation in the area.
- Exposure to radiation on the body.
- Postponed autoimmune thyrotoxicosis of the thyroid gland (AIT).
- Work in hazardous production.
- DTZ (diffuse toxic goiter) leads to the development of hyperthyroidism in 80% of cases.
- Nodular toxic goiter.
- Toxic prostate adenoma, which produces hormones on its own.
- Thyroid diseases that have not been properly treated.
- Long-term use of iodine preparations in high dosages.
- Disorders in the interaction of the thyroid gland and the pituitary gland.
- The size of the thyroid gland.
- Decreased body defenses.
With diffuse toxic goiter, your own immune cells begin to attack the thyroid tissue. In response to this, she will produce excessive amounts of hormones.
Causes in women
The reasons that can provoke the development of hyperthyroidism in women:
- Diffuse toxic goiter or Graves' disease. This reason is considered leading in terms of the development of hyperthyroidism. Basedow's disease is an autoimmune pathology in which a person's immune system begins to produce antibodies that cause the thyroid gland to produce large amounts of hormones. Many people with toxic goiter also have other autoimmune pathologies, for example, glomerulonephritis, gastritis, hepatitis. Hyperthyroidism and the presence of goiter are two of the main symptoms of Graves' disease.
- Thyroiditis. In this disease, inflammation is concentrated in the area of the thyroid gland. Viral infections become the impetus for the development of pathology.
- Excessive intake of thyroid hormones into the body. This happens most often while taking medications.
- Nodular goiter. With this violation, pathological activity is observed in a certain area of the thyroid gland. Doctors call these areas hot knots.
Hypothyroidism and hypothyroidism: what are the differences?
Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are different diseases. In hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland works poorly, it produces insufficient amounts of hormones, so their level will be reduced. All processes in which they participate are slowed down. Patients begin to gain weight, their skin is pale and dry, palpitations are rare, speech suffers, movements become inhibited.
In contrast, in hyperthyroidism, the metabolism accelerates, since there are too many thyroid hormones in the body. This provokes the acceleration of all processes. Therefore, the symptoms of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are different. Patients become very irritable, their skin is moist, weight decreases, appetite increases, heart rate increases, etc.
Types of hyperthyroidism
Not only the thyroid gland, but also the pituitary gland with the hypothalamus takes part in the production of thyroid hormones.
Depending on what is the cause of hyperthyroidism, the types of disease will differ:
- Primary hyperthyroidism. It occurs due to a malfunction of the thyroid gland itself, or ectopic thyroid tissue. Pathology occurs in the presence of goiter, due to excessive intake of iodine hormones in the body, or with toxic adenoma of the thyroid gland.
- Secondary hyperthyroidism. It manifests itself due to disturbances in the functioning of the pituitary gland, which causes the thyroid gland to produce excessive amounts of hormones. Most often, a violation develops due to the growth of a pituitary adenoma.
- Tertiary hyperthyroidism. It develops due to malfunctions of the hypothalamus, which most often occur against the background of neuroses.
Forms of hyperthyroidism
The forms of primary hyperthyroidism can be as follows:
- Subclinical hyperthyroidism. In this case, the disease has an asymptomatic course, so it is difficult to identify it. T3 and T4 levels in the blood test will be normal, and the TSH levels produced by the pituitary gland will be low.
- Manifest or overt hyperthyroidism. In this form of the disease, the level of T3 and T4 is increased, and the level of TSH is lowered.
- Complicated hyperthyroidism. A patient with this form of the disease develops atrial fibrillation, psychosis, renal and heart failure, sudden weight loss, etc.
Diagnosis of hyperthyroidism
To identify hyperthyroidism, the patient is examined, after which he is sent for laboratory and instrumental examinations, including:
- Donating blood for the level of T3, T4, TSH and antibodies.
- ECG, designed to identify abnormalities in the work of the heart.
- Ultrasound and CT of the thyroid gland. These studies allow assessing the condition of the thyroid gland, its size, the presence of nodes and inflammatory infiltrate.
- Biopsy of the thyroid nodule with further histology of the collected material.
- Thyroid scintigraphy allows you to determine the activity of the organ.
- Assessment of vision using various ophthalmic tests.
In addition, patients with hyperthyroidism have certain changes in appearance, and also present characteristic complaints to the doctor. They are the basis for a detailed examination of the patient.
If treatment is started on time, then hyperthyroidism can be dealt with. Only in this case can you count on success and avoid the development of serious diseases. When therapy is absent, the patient develops severe disorders in the work of the cardiovascular system, bone pathologies and a thyrotoxic crisis.
Treatment can be medical and surgical. In addition, they practice radioactive iodine therapy. Do not forget about diet and physiotherapy.
The main goal of drug correction of hyperthyroidism is to achieve a persistent decrease in the level of thyroid hormones in the body. This will eliminate their toxic effects on organs.
If the patient is less than 50 years old and the disease was diagnosed in him at an early stage, then he is prescribed thyreostatic drugs that suppress the functioning of the thyroid gland. You need to take them for a long time. When a person stops using drugs, all symptoms of hyperthyroidism return.
Mercazolil is the drug of choice in the treatment of hyperthyroidism. It aims to block the synthesis of thyroid hormones. It is prescribed in the case when their increase is insignificant and was discovered for the first time. If hyperthyroidism is severe, then Mercazolil is not used for treatment. Therapy with this drug can last no more than 2 years. Moreover, sometimes the blocking of hormones is so intense that replacement therapy with the same hormones is necessary.
As a rule, after 21 days from the start of treatment, the patient's well-being is stabilized. All symptoms of the disease disappear. The indicators of successful treatment are the normalization of the pulse, as well as weight gain. During therapy, you need to monitor the blood picture.
It is impossible to abruptly cancel Mercazolil, as this can cause a crisis. The most common complications from taking the drug include agranulocytosis, leukopenia, and agranulocytic angina.
Treatment of hyperthyroidism with radioactive iodine
Radioactive iodine is prescribed early in the development of the disease. If therapy does not give an effect, then the patient is shown taking Mercazolil. In a severe course of the disease and in preparation for the operation, the doctor may prescribe the simultaneous intake of radioactive iodine and Mercazolil.
Radioactive iodine can be shown to older people who need surgery, but for health reasons they will not be able to transfer it. Iodine helps to reduce the activity of the thyroid gland, but at the same time it destroys its tissues. Therefore, it is so important to correctly calculate the dose.
The main side effect of iodine therapy is the release of large amounts of hormones into the bloodstream. This happens on the 7-10th day from the start of treatment. To prevent the development of a crisis, parallel administration of thyreostatics is required.
If a patient has one goiter, which leads to excessive activity of the thyroid gland, as well as the growth of its separate area, then he is shown an operation. If you remove it, then the organ will begin to work as before. When a patient has a significant proliferation of gland tissues, or several nodes in it, the operation is contraindicated. Otherwise, the patient will develop hypothyroidism.
So, the indications for surgical intervention:
- Large goiter.
- Individual intolerance to drugs for blocking thyroid hormones.
- Relapse of the disease after conservative therapy.
During treatment and during the recovery phase, you will need to strictly follow the diet. To eliminate disturbances in the work of the cardiovascular system, patients are shown 2 specialized treatment courses per year.
To be successful in treating hyperthyroidism, you must strictly follow your diet. It allows not only to cope with the disease, but also to prevent its development. The doctor should compose the diet. Sometimes a well-chosen diet allows you to do without taking medications.
Food should be as fortified as possible.
Products that must be present in the menu:
- Low-fat chicken and rabbit meat.
- Seafood: squid, mussels, shrimp.
- Coffee and chocolate, but only of good quality.
- Kefir and yogurt.
- Tea mushroom.
The use of these products will allow you to normalize the intestines, as well as saturate the body with vitamins. In addition to proper nutrition, the patient should receive a sufficient amount of water, which will get rid of constipation, normalize metabolic processes and regulate the function of digestion.
Video: surgeon, doctor of medical sciences Kosovan Viktor Nikolaevich will talk about the methods of treating hyperthyroidism:
Complications of hyperthyroidism
If the disease is severe or there is no treatment, then the likelihood of complications increases. The most dangerous of them is the thyrotoxic crisis. All symptoms of hyperthyroidism are gaining strength, which leads to serious disruptions in the work of internal organs. In 70% of cases, the crisis has a severe course, most often it occurs in women.
Prevention of hyperthyroidism
In order to prevent the development of the disease, it is necessary to ensure that an adequate amount of iodine is supplied to the body, as well as to contact an endocrinologist in a timely manner.
Other measures to prevent hyperthyroidism include:
- Proper nutrition without overusing fatty, fried, spicy and smoked foods. The menu should contain more vegetables and fruits, as well as fermented milk drinks.
- You need to take food according to the regimen.
- Rejection of bad habits.
- Increased physical activity.
- Regular blood tests for hormones.
- Refusal to spend a long time in the sun.
If a patient has been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, then he should be registered with an endocrinologist.
The author of the article: Kuzmina Vera Valerievna | Endocrinologist, nutritionist
Education: Diploma of the Russian State Medical University named after NI Pirogov with a degree in General Medicine (2004). Residency at Moscow State University of Medicine and Dentistry, diploma in Endocrinology (2006).