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Hyperthyroidism, often called overactive thyroid, is a condition caused by too much thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone comes from the thyroid gland, a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck.

Thyroid hormone affects many things in your body, including how your body uses energy. Too much thyroid hormone can make you feel anxious, warm, sweaty, and feel your heart beating.

The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is called Graves’ disease.

Hyperthyroidism symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Feeling jittery and shaky
  • Palpitations (feeling your heart beating)
  • Enlarged thyroid gland in the neck (goiter)
  • Sweating more than usual
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Insomnia

How can I get help for hyperthyroidism?

See your primary care doctor if you have hyperthyroidism symptoms. If you have hyperthyroidism, your doctor will refer you to an endocrinologist, a hormone specialist.

To diagnose you, your doctor will perform a physical exam and order blood tests. The most common blood test is called “thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).” People with hyperthyroidism typically have an abnormally low TSH level. TSH usually goes the opposite direction to thyroid hormone (when thyroid hormone levels are high, TSH is usually low).

Care for people with hyperthyroidism at Rush

Your endocrinologist will recommend one or more of these hyperthyroidism treatment options:

  • Beta-blocker medication to decrease symptoms until your hyperthyroidism is under control
  • Antithyroid medication to reduce the amount of hormone your thyroid gland produces
  • Radioactive iodine to slow down your body’s production of thyroid hormones, in some cases
  • Thyroid surgery to remove your thyroid gland, in rare cases

Why choose Rush for hyperthyroidism care

  • The endocrinology team at Rush includes nationally recongized experts in the care of thyroid disease who are members of the American Thyroid Association.
  • Rush offers minimally invasive techniques for thyroid surgery. This type of surgery creates a smaller scar on your neck. You’ll also heal faster and have less pain.

Departments and programs that treat this condition