Thyroid Storm Management: Causes, Symptoms, Methods Of Prevention

Updated at: Nov 01, 2019
Thyroid Storm Management: Causes, Symptoms, Methods Of Prevention

Special care should be given to people who have been suffering from a thyroid storm. They should avoid taking iodine, as this can worsen the situation.

Tavishi Dogra
Other DiseasesWritten by: Tavishi DograPublished at: Nov 01, 2019

Thyroid storm is a fatal condition but is seen in very few people. This storm could cause heart failure, heart attack and even death. A state of thyroid storm occurs when a person suffering from hyperthyroid is not treated. In this condition, a person may have a high fever, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, vomiting and diarrhoea etc. So let us tell you about it in detail today.

Signs & Symptoms

Signs of thyroid storm are similar to those of hyperthyroidism, but they are more severe and appear suddenly. This is why people with thyroid storm are unable to take care of themselves. The main symptoms are:

  • Very high heart rate (tachycardia) over 140 beats per minute
  • Very high fever, sometimes above 105.8º
  • Persistent sweating
  • Jaundice
  • Dehydration
  • Tremor and weakness
  • Discomfort, vomiting and nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Unconsciousness

Risks related to thyroid storm

thyroid

Thyroid storm can be quite risky for a person as it can cause the body parts to have difficulty in functioning. In addition to heart attack and heart failure, a person may also have trouble breathing, peripheral oedema, abdominal pain and liver damage. Sometimes a person suffering from thyroid storm may also have problems such as viral infections in the upper respiratory tract, and pneumonia.

Reasons

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The leading cause of thyroid storm is the incomplete treatment of hyperthyroidism. When hyperthyroidism is left untreated or anti-thyroid medications are discontinued, a person is at higher risk of thyroid storm. The causes of this condition are mainly untreated thyroid gland infection associated with hyperthyroidism.

Note: Not everyone with hyperthyroidism has a thyroid storm. 

Diagnosis

There is no distinct lab test to diagnose a thyroid storm. To detect this, doctors pay special attention to the patient's symptoms and signs. Besides, physicians measure thyroid hormone levels in the body through blood tests. T3 and T4 hormones are higher than usual in people with thyroid storm.

Treatment

Thyroid storm develops suddenly and affects all the systems in your body. The person needs immediate treatment and is therefore given antithyroid medicines like propylthiouracil or methimazole to reduce the production of thyroid hormones. Besides, the treatment of hyperthyroidism requires continuous care of the patient. People with hyperthyroidism can be treated with radioactive iodine, which destroys the thyroid. However, this radioactive iodine cannot be used to treat pregnant women with hyperthyroidism, as it will harm their unborn child. In those cases, the woman's thyroid is surgically removed.

Tip: If your thyroid is surgically removed, you will still need to take synthetic thyroid hormone later.

Read more articles on Other Diseases

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