What is Hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism causes the thyroid (a gland) to produce too much thyroxine (a hormone). When too much thyroxine is produced, it speeds things up in the body. This can cause weight loss, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, irritability or sweating. With treatment, hyperthyroidism is easily controlled. The thyroid and the hormones it produces are important to the body’s metabolism.

What are the causes?

  • Graves’ Disease – the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid by mistake. This causes the thyroid to produce more thyroxine.
  • Swollen thyroid or growths in the thyroid can cause an overproduction of thyroxine

Treatments for Hyperthyroidism:

  • Radioactive iodine – this causes the thyroid to shrink, decreasing signs and symptoms
  • Anti-thyroid medications – prevent the thyroid from producing too much thyroxine (hormone)
  • Beta blockers – these act on the heart, lowering a rapid heart rate and preventing palpitations
  • Surgery – removing most of the thyroid gland, this is followed by lifelong hormone replacement

What can I do?

  • Make sure your child takes medication as directed
  • Ask about nutritional supplements (vitamins and minerals) that may help maintain a healthy lifestyle


It is important to remember the health information found on this Web site is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your health care provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a true medical emergency, call 911 immediately.


  • Sudden, unexplained weight loss
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Heart palpitations (pounding heartbeat)
  • Increased appetite
  • Nervousness or anxiousness
  • Tremor (hands and fingers)
  • Sweating
  • Changes in menstrual cycle
  • Increased sensitivity to heat
  • Changes in bowel movements (usually an increase)
  • Enlarged thyroid gland (can sometimes be seen at the base of the neck)
  • Fatigue or muscle weakness
  • Difficulty sleeping