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High Thyroid Symptoms

author image Jillian O'Keeffe
Jillian O'Keeffe has been a freelance writer since 2009. Her work appears in regional Irish newspapers including "The Connacht Tribune" and the "Sentinel." O'Keeffe has a Master of Arts in journalism from the National University of Ireland, Galway and a Bachelor of Science in microbiology from University College Cork.
High Thyroid Symptoms
A classic hyperthyroidism symptom is an increase in appetite. Photo Credit Don Bayley/iStock/Getty Images

The thyroid gland produces hormones that have various effects on the body. These hormones are called T3 and T4 for short, but T3 is the more actively available form and T4 is turned into T3 where necessary. At a normal level of production, the thyroid hormones help regulate many of the body's metabolic activities. Examples of thyroid-influenced processes include beneficial effects on bone turnover, movement of food through the digestive tract, the ability of the muscles to contract and control of breathing pattern and heart rate. Due to these varied effects, when too much thyroid hormone is produced, the affected person can suffer a wide variety of symptoms. Hyperthyroidism, or a high thyroid, may also be known as an overactive thyroid or thyrotoxicosis.

Metabolic Effects

High Thyroid Symptoms
Weight loss is a common symptom of high thyroid hormone levels. Photo Credit AGorohov/iStock/Getty Images

Weight loss is a common symptom of high thyroid hormone levels, even though the affected person generally has an increased or normal appetite. On the other hand, an increased appetite can actually cause weight gain, especially in young people. The increase in appetite is due to an increase in energy use by the body that is triggered by excess thyroid hormone. This excessive energy burning also makes the body warmer than usual, making many people with an overactive thyroid less tolerant of hot environments. A tremor can also be present, which is an inability to keep the muscles still. Some people suffer from palpitations, which describes being aware of your heartbeat, and a faster than normal heart rate is also common. Sweating is another possible symptom.

Digestive Problems

High Thyroid Symptoms
An overactive thyroid can trigger the digestive system to become more active than usual, resulting in more trips to the restroom than usual. Photo Credit Clicknique/iStock/Getty Images

An overactive thyroid can trigger the digestive system to become more active than usual. This means that food and water run through the body more rapidly, producing symptoms such as excessive bowel movements and more trips to the toilet to urinate. Feeling more thirsty than usual or experiencing diarrhea or vomiting are also possible symptoms, and on rare occasions, stomach pain is a symptom. Some people find they have trouble swallowing, and this is associated with the presence of a goiter, the swelling in the neck due to the thyroid gland enlarging.

Emotional Effects

High Thyroid Symptoms
Abnormally high thyroid levels can leave some unable to concentrate or sleep normally. Photo Credit Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Abnormally high thyroid hormone levels can make the affected person less emotionally stable than usual and more likely to feel anxious. The person may also become hyperactive as a result of the disease. Irritability is another possible symptom, as is an inability to concentrate or being unable to sleep normally.

Muscle Problems

High Thyroid Symptoms
Excessive fatigue could be an indicator your thyroid levels are off. Photo Credit amana productions inc/amana images/Getty Images

Excessive thyroid hormone tends to produce muscle weakness, especially in the strong muscles in the thighs and upper arms. These are the muscles that are most powerful in getting up out of a chair or in lifting the arms over the head. Another common symptom is excessive tiredness.

Differences in Men and Women

High Thyroid Symptoms
Men with high thyroid levels may experience erectile dysfunction. Photo Credit Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Some men with high thyroid levels may experience erectile dysfunction or breast enlargement. Women may find that their periods become lighter than normal or disappear altogether, which can have adversely affect fertility.

Graves Disease

High Thyroid Symptoms
Many people with high thyroid activity have Graves disease. Photo Credit BakiBG/iStock/Getty Images

Many people with high thyroid activity have Graves disease. This type of hyperthyroidism is due to antibodies mistakenly attaching to the thyroid and signaling to the gland to produce more hormone than usual. According to "Kumar & Clark's Clinical Medicine," people with hyperthyroidism of the Graves disease variety can have eye problems such as bulging eyes or weakness of eye movement. Of course, the general hyperthyroidism symptoms may also be present.

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