by Svetla Bankova
32 Symptoms of Graves’ Disease, Hyperthyroidism and Overactive Thyroid
If you are reading this page you are probably wondering if you have Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism, based on the symptoms you are experiencing. Some of the hyperthyroidism symptoms though can easily be mistaken with panic attacks or menopause symptoms, especially of the patient is woman over 45. Many doctors rely just on the thyroid blood tests to determine if you are suffering from this autoimmune disease, which is totally wrong. Many people have normal thyroid tests, but are experiencing symptoms at the same time. Or they have gone into remission, but still have symptoms for hyperthyroidism. Both cases should be considered.
Most people have just a few of the symptoms, but they are very representative and evident, for example, heart palpitations when they are not a result of normal physical activity. Menstrual period that has been one and the same for years and now has changed or is totally missing. Or you are losing a lot of weight without any particular reason. In those cases- I would say trust your intuition and if you think that something may be wrong, it’s better to check it and find out earlier than later. If you find that you have 3-5 of these symptoms present, you should inform your doctor and insist on further tests.
Graves’ Disease Symptoms
1. Excessive sweating. Since Graves’ Disease is typical for women ages 40- 55 it is often mistaken with menopausal symptoms.
2. Heat intolerance. Same as above- it could be due to menopause, or simply hyperthyroidism symptom.
3. Increased bowel movements. Diarrhea. It is related with the rapid weight loss. All body processes are speeding and this is no exception.
4. Tremor (usually fine shaking). Trembling hands. It could be due to nervousness, or just inability of the body to handle the increased body processes.
5. Rapid heart rate, often referred as palpitations. This is the scariest symptom, because it is connected with the heart and people think that they are dying. Often misused by health care professionals to scare additionally the patients.
6. Weight loss. Some people are loosing more than 30 pounds.Unexplained weight loss despite increased appetite.
7. Decreased concentration. It is not a primary symptom, but often as a result of all other symptoms.
8. Lumpy, reddish-colored thickening of the skin, usually on the shins). Very typical symptom.
9. Weakness, as a result of weight loss and lack of sleep.
10. Shortness of breath. Related to palpitations and sense of panic. Very often mistaken with panic attacks, and wrongly treated by psychiatrists with anxiety medication.
11. Double vision- as a result of Thyroid Eye Disease and it’s symptoms. It occurs at a later stage of the disease when the eyes are severely affected.
12. Muscle wasting
13. Mental impairment, memory lapses, diminished attention span.
14. Brittle nails
15. Diminished sex drive. Or increased sex drive. Erratic behavior.
16. Abnormal breast enlargement (men).
17. Goiter (enlarged thyroid gland)- not always. Goiter could be the reason for hyperthyroidism.
18. Nervousness, agitation. Very typical symptom. Emotional instability. Patients can cry frequently with no apparent reason.
19. Irritability. Same as nervousness above.
20. Fatigue. Not very typical for hyperthyroidism. It is often seen in hypothyroidism though.
21. Insomnia (inability to get enough sleep). That’s one of the reasons for most of the other symptoms.
22. Protruding eyeballs (Graves’ disease only). Eye irritation. Eye pain, irritation, or the feeling of grit or sand in the eyes. It is result of Thyroid eye disease and one of the most debilitating symptoms.
23. Decrease in menstrual periods (oligomenorrhea), Irregular and scant menstrual flow (Amenorrhea). Again- often mistaken with a menopause symptom.
24. Hair loss. I believe this symptom is related to the anti-thyroid medication, if it is taken. Once the patient becomes euthyroid (normal thyroid function) the hair grows back.
25. Itchy skin, hives. Most people treated with medication for Graves’ Disease or hyperthyroidism report this symptom. They are either allergic to that particular medication or overdosed.
26. Restlessness as a result of increased of energy. Patients can not sit still for longer period of time, they have to do something all the time. Meditation helps but it is very difficult to implement.
27. Tachycardia (rapid heart rate: 100-120 beats per minute, or higher) or Arrhythmia (irregular heart beat). Similar to palpitations. Usually beta- blockers (medication for anxiety as well) help for relieving the symptoms. It is often prescribed together with anti- thyroid medication.
28. Elevated blood pressure (not always)
29. Chronic sinus infections. I haven’t experienced such, but some people do have them.
30. Swelling or redness of eyes or eyelids/eyelid retraction.Sensitivity to light. Again, related with Thyroid Eye Disease.
31. Difficulty conceiving/infertility/recurrent miscarriage
32. Lumpy, reddish skin of the lower legs (pretibial myxedema)
You may have a few hyperthyroidism symptoms, or just one. There is no common rule. With most people, after their thyroid test results get within the normal ranges, the symptoms disappear as well after some time.