It’s no wonder that we often think of hypothyroidism as the disorder of a woman, but the truth is that, right now, there are many men out there who can read this and deal with the many symptoms of thyroid disease.
Having the disease of Graves means that your immune system erroneously targets a stable thyroid gland, causing too much thyroid hormone to be produced. It usually develops between the ages of 30 and 50, although at any age it can form.
Hyperthyroidism has many symptoms. Some may not consider or think of you as signs of a serious underlying health condition, such as sleeping difficulties. Others should get your attention quickly, like an abnormally fast heartbeat (even when at rest).
Other common hyperthyroid symptoms include:
- Tremor (usually shaking hands and fingers).
- Increased heat and/or cold sensitivity.
- Less regular motions of the intestine.
- Weakness in the body.
- Thinning of the hair.
- Unexpected weight loss, even if there is still food and appetite.
- The heartbeat is slow.
Tests to Diagnose
Just because women may develop hyperthyroidism more likely, this does not mean that men should not be tested as their risks increase. You should be monitoring noticeable symptoms. If you have a family history of thyroid disease or are over 60 years old, you should also be tested for hyperthyroidism. Likewise, if you have type 2 diabetes, you may be at higher risk, in which case you should consider screening for thyroid disease.
A review of your medical history and symptoms begins with the evaluation of hyperthyroidism. Your doctor can check to see if your eyes or skin has a tremor and shifts. If you have overactive reflexes, they may also check. All of these can suggest a thyroid that is overactive.
In addition to a physical examination, a test for thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroxine, the main hormone released by the thyroid gland, should be included in the hyperthyroid test. In diagnosing hyperthyroidism, an imaging test called a thyroid scan may also be helpful.
Talk to your doctor for screening as thyroid disease is a health problem that is commonly under-diagnosed and undertreated. An estimated 60 percent of people with some type of thyroid disease are unaware of the illness they have.
Hyperthyroidism can be harder to treat than hypothyroidism, typically controlled by using prescription thyroid hormone. Overactive thyroid treatment options include:
- Medications – such as methimazole, which allow the thyroid to produce less hormone. Sometimes, supplements for men are also advised.
- Surgery to remove all or half of the thyroid, requiring synthetic hormone to be extracted.
- Radioiodine treatment requiring mouth-taking of toxic iodine-131. The iodine slowly kills some of the cells that make the thyroid hormone in order to bring the development of hormones into a natural, healthy range. Such procedure is commonly used and may require more than one medication at times.
While helping to overcome symptoms related to heart rate, weight, strength, and other complications related to overactive thyroid, hyperthyroidism therapy may also help to solve issues with sexual dysfunction.