The Encarta Dictionary defines the prefix hyper as

“over, above, beyond, excessive, unusually high” and the suffix “ism” as “unusual or unhealthy state.”

Hyperthyroidism means the thyroid is in an unhealthy state caused by the excessive activity of the thyroid.

Hyperthyroidism normally occurs when excessive amounts of the thyroid hormones are being produced by the thyroidHyperthyroidism is found in many Americans and is up to ten times more often found in women than men.

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists has set forth some of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism:
•    Rapid or irregular heart rate (often more than 100 beats per minute)
•    Nervousness, anxiety or an irritable and quarrelsome feeling
•    Fatigue
•    Difficulty concentrating
•    Insomnia
•    Difficulty sleeping
•    Shortness of breath with activity
•    Tremors
•    Breast enlargement in men
•    Weight loss, despite eating the same amount or even more than usual
•    Intolerance of warm temperatures and increased likelihood to perspire
•    Loss of scalp hair
•    Muscle weakness, especially of the upper arms and thighs
•    Loose and frequent bowel movements
•    Change in menstrual pattern
•    Protrusion of the eyes, with or without double vision
•    Eye irritation and tearing
•    Accelerated loss of calcium from bones, which increases the risk of osteoporosis and fractures

What Are the Causes of Hyperthyroidism?

When hyperthyroidism develops, a goiter (an enlargement of the gland that often can be seen as a swelling on the front of the neck) is usually but not always present. Here are some of the types of conditions that lead to hyperthyroidism.

Graves’ Disease

This is an autoimmune disorder where the body’s own antibodies are creating problems in the thyroid that cause it to create more thyroid hormones than are needed and is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. While generally more likely to occur in women over 20, it may also affect men.

Toxic Multinodular Goiter

Multiple nodules (small growths of tissue and cells) grow in the thyroid. The nodules cause the thyroid to swell and to produce excessive thyroid hormones.

Postpartum (after birth) Thyroiditis

The definition in the Encarta Dictionary for the suffix “itis” is inflammation disease. Thyroiditis is an inflammation disease of the thyroid. It is estimated that between five and ten percent of women first develop mild to moderate hyperthyroidism within several months of giving birth  and then many of these women develop hypothyroidism.

Overmedication With Thyroid Hormone

Patients who receive excessive thyroxine (T4) replacement treatment can develop hyperthyroidism.