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Medical Negligence
Overactive Thyroid

Overactive Thyroid

An overactive thyroid can be effectively controlled but only if medical professionals diagnose and manage a patient correctly. If not successfully treated, the condition can lead to serious health problems, and can even be fatal.

What is an Overactive Thyroid?

An overactive thyroid (sometimes known as hyperthyroidism or thyrotoxicosis) is when the thyroid gland produces too many hormones, which are then released into the body.

Ordinarily, the thyroid gland (located in the neck) produces hormones that control the body's growth and metabolism. Amongst other things, this helps to regulate heart rate and body temperature, as well as aiding the conversion of food into energy. These hormones, called thyroxine and triiodothyronine, are released into the bloodstream at a controlled rate. However, an overactive thyroid produces excessive amounts of these hormones, meaning the body's metabolism speeds up.

There are a number of causes of an overactive thyroid. It may develop due to a disease, such as: Grave's disease, thyroid nodules or follicular thyroid cancer. Alternatively, the condition may arise because of certain medication, including iodine supplements or amiodarone (which controls an irregular heartbeat).

Symptoms and Treatment of an Overactive Thyroid

When someone is diagnosed with an overactive thyroid, they will be told their condition is either overt (fully developed) or subclinical (where symptoms are mild or absent).

While there are many symptoms of an overt overactive thyroid, it is likely someone will experience a few of these signs, rather than all of them:-

  • Difficulty breathing;
  • Fatigue and muscle weakness;
  • Hyperactivity and/or irritability;
  • Mood swings;
  • Needing to pass stools or urine frequently, and/or diahorrea;
  • Sensitivity to heat with excessive sweating;
  • Sudden weight gain or loss;
  • Increased appetite;
  • Light periods, or no periods altogether;
  • Loss of interest in sex.

Furthermore, the following physical signs may also be evident:-

  • Swelling in your neck;
  • Loss of hair;
  • Moist skin;
  • Loosening of fingernails;
  • Tremors;
  • Twitching face;
  • Rapid resting heartbeat.

The type of treatment for an overactive thyroid will depend upon how developed the condition is. If it is still in the subclinical stages, treatment may not be necessary. However, if have (or go on to have) an overt overactive thyroid, medication will be needed. This will differ from person to person, but may involve beta-blockers, thionamides, or radioiodine treatment (a form of radiotherapy). In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the thyroid known as a thyroidectomy.

Overactive Thyroid and Medical Negligence

If an overactive thyroid is not promptly diagnosed and treated appropriately, a person will be put at an increased risk of suffering further complications. These include:-

  • Eye problems (Graves' ophthalmopathy);
  • A Thyroid Storm (a physical reaction that requires emergency medical attention);
  • Irregular heart rhythms;
  • Brittle bones (osteoporosis);
  • Death.

If your overactive thyroid was not adequately handled by medical professionals, then you may be the victim of medical negligence. Perhaps your condition was not diagnosed in a timely fashion? Or you were not given the correct form of treatment? Or the lack of treatment had lead to additional complications? Whatever the nature of your grievance, you need to speak to a medical negligence solicitor without delay, as you may be able to make a claim.

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