Why Is My Thyroid High: Understanding High Thyroid Levels
Do you have symptoms such as weight loss, increased heart rate, and anxiety? Have you been feeling unusually warm and sweaty lately?
These could be signs of an overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism, a condition where your thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone.
In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why your thyroid may be overactive, what factors can contribute to high thyroid levels, and how you can manage this condition.
What is the Thyroid?
Before we dive into the reasons behind high thyroid levels, let’s first understand what the thyroid gland is and what it does.
The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck. It produces hormones that regulate the body’s metabolism, which is the process by which your body converts food into energy.
The two main hormones produced by the thyroid gland are triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4).
What are High Thyroid Levels?
When the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, it leads to a condition called hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is characterized by elevated levels of T3 and T4 in the blood.
High thyroid levels can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
- Weight loss
- Increased appetite
- Anxiety and irritability
- Rapid heartbeat and palpitations
- Difficulty sleeping
- Heat intolerance and sweating
- Shaking or tremors
- Fatigue and muscle weakness
- Changes in menstrual cycle
- Frequent bowel movements
- Changes in vision
What Causes High Thyroid Levels?
There are several factors that can contribute to high thyroid levels. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common causes:
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes the thyroid gland to produce too much thyroid hormone. It is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism and affects women more frequently than men. Graves’ disease occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland, causing it to become overactive.
Thyroid nodules are abnormal growths in the thyroid gland that can cause it to produce too much thyroid hormone. Most thyroid nodules are noncancerous and do not cause any symptoms. However, in some cases, they can become overactive and cause hyperthyroidism.
Thyroiditis is an inflammation of the thyroid gland that can cause it to become overactive. There are several types of thyroiditis, including:
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: an autoimmune disorder that causes the thyroid gland to become inflamed and underactive.
- Subacute thyroiditis: a condition where the thyroid gland becomes inflamed and overactive for a short period of time before becoming underactive.
- Postpartum thyroiditis: a type of thyroiditis that occurs in women after giving birth.
Excessive Iodine Intake
Iodine is an essential mineral that is required for the production of thyroid hormone. However, excessive intake of iodine can cause the thyroid gland to become overactive. This is more common in people who take iodine supplements or consume large amounts of seaweed.
Pituitary Gland Malfunction
The pituitary gland is a small gland located at the base of the brain that produces hormones that regulate the thyroid gland. If the pituitary gland malfunctions and produces too much thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), it can cause the thyroid gland to become overactive and produce too much thyroid hormone.