You’ve probably heard of the thyroid, but you may not be as familiar with the condition known as hyperthyroidism, which involves the thyroid gland producing an unnecessary amount of a hormone called thyroxine. The result: your body’s metabolism speeds up to the point where it can be difficult to maintain a healthy body weight. Hyperthyroidism can also result in excessive sweating, anxiety, irritability, and even heart problems.
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The good news is that there are a number of ways to help counteract the symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism. Treatment options range from medications to surgery and the removal of the thyroid gland itself; the option for you will depend on your specific health situation.
1. Radioactive iodine treatments
It may not sound like the best way to help your body fight hyperthyroidism, but radioactive iodine — taken by mouth — can play a key role in suppressing the problematic symptoms associated with this condition. That’s because, once the radioactive iodine is fully absorbed by the thyroid gland, the gland responds by shrinking in size.
Over time — usually three to six months or so — this will result in the symptoms from hyperthyroidism subsiding to the point where the patient can resume normal lifestyle activities. However, it is possible that a radioactive iodine treatment will make the thyroid go from overproducing to underproducing, which could make it easier to gain weight than before. To limit the side effects of radioactive iodine treatment, doctors may prescribe a medication capable of restoring thyroid activity to acceptable levels.