Expected Duration of Hyperthyroidism

Updated at: Jan 21, 2013
Expected Duration of Hyperthyroidism

Untreated hyperthyroidism progresses and can cause several complications. Currently available treatments for hyperthyroidism are effective in treating all common types of hyperthyroidism. People treated with radioactive iodine or surgery may need

Dr Poonam Sachdev
ThyroidWritten by: Dr Poonam SachdevPublished at: May 31, 2012

Hyperthyroidism is the term used to describe signs and symptoms caused because of over production of the thyroid hormone. It is a common medical condition, which affects the thyroid gland.

Expected duration of hyperthyroidism

Untreated hyperthyroidism: if hyperthyroidism is not treated on time, the symptoms progress and can cause several complications. Some of the common complications of untreated hyperthyroidism are:

  • dehydration owing to excess heat, excess sweating and diarrhoea,
  • increase in blood pressure (mainly systolic hypertension),
  • weakening of bone (bone loss with high blood calcium may cause fractures),
  • abnormalities of heart rate and rhythm,
  • heart failure and
  • Graves' ophthalmopathy (eye problems that may occur include bulging, red or swollen eyes, sensitivity to light and blurring or double vision).

Response to treatment: Currently available treatments for hyperthyroidism are effective in treating all common types of hyperthyroidism.

Radioactive iodine is the most common type of medication recommended for permanent treatment of hyperthyroidism. Treatment with radioactive iodine takes about one to two months before the symptoms start to improve but a single dose of radioactive iodine can cure to a great extent. As it causes permanent damage to the thyroid gland, medication will be needed every day to replace thyroxine for life.

Anti-thyroid medications (such as propylthiouracil and methimazole) act slowly and gradually control symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Improvement is observed in about in six to 12 weeks, but long-term treatment is needed (for at least a year and often longer). This may be curative in some people, but many experience a relapse after stopping treatment.

Surgery for thyroid gland removal is called thyroidectomy. It cures hyperthyroidism, but many people develop hypothyroidism. Such people may need medication every day to replace thyroxine for life.




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