Hyperthyroidism/Grave’s Disease

The thyroid gland is considered the master of metabolism control.  Nearly every tissue in the body can be affected by the thyroid hormone, which is under very tight regulation through a complex control system.

For some patients, this control system malfunctions, resulting in a “runaway thyroid gland.” Also known as hyperthyroidism, this condition results in the gland wildly overproducing thyroid hormone, causing major metabolic malfunction.  This can be controlled with medications in some cases; unfortunately, however, these medications are frequently ineffective, toxic or otherwise unworkable.

When medications fail, options of radiation treatment or surgery are considered.  If the gland is quite large – as it frequently is with Grave’s disease – compressive effects of the oversized gland can cause problems with swallowing and pressure sensation.

Frequently, surgery is deemed the best option. Because of the changes of the gland related to hyperthyroidism, surgery is somewhat more complicated in this setting; it is crucial to have an experienced surgeon for thyroid surgery of hyperthyroidism.