Saturday, April 23, 2011

Understanding Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is a metabolic imbalance which results from overproduction of thyroid hormones. It is also known as thyrotoxicosis. In Grave’s disease, which is its common form, there is an increase of thyroxine (T4) production that causes an enlargement of the thyroid gland (goiter) and multiple system changes. In thyroid storm, which is the acute and sever exacerbation of thyrotoxicosis (which is a medical emergency), possible life-threatening cardiac, hepatic, or renal consequences occur.

How does this happen?

  • T-cell lymphocytes become sensitized to thyroid antigens and stimulate B-cell lymphocytes to secrete autoantibodies 
  • Thyroid-stimulating antibodies bind and stimulate thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) receptors of the thyroid gland 
  • The stimulation increases production of thyroid hormone and cell growth

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