The term hyperthyroidism refers to any condition in which there
is too much thyroid hormone in the body. This most commonly
results from a generalized overactivity of the entire thyroid
gland, a condition also known as diffuse toxic goiter or Graves'
disease. Alternatively, one or more nodules or lumps in the
thyroid may become overactive, a condition known as toxic
nodular or multinodular goiter. Finally, a person may
become hyperthyroid if he or she has a condition called thyroiditis,
or if one takes too much thyroid hormone in tablet form.
The symptoms of hyperthyroidism include nervousness, irritability, increased perspiration, thinning of your skin, fine brittle hair, and muscular weakness especially involving the upper arms and thighs. Your hands may shake and your heart may race. Your bowel movements may increase in frequency, though diarrhea is uncommon. Usually you will lose weight despite a good appetite and, if you are a woman, menstrual flow may lighten and menstrual periods may occur less frequently.
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