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Hyperthyroidism refers to excessive secretion of thyroid hormones. Iodine overload, a goiter, thyroid nodules or certain congenital diseases can cause hyperthyroidism. However, the main cause is Graves' disease, an autoimmune disease that mostly affects women. It is characterized by the presence of antibodies that stimulate the production of thyroid hormones. Graves' disease is sometimes linked to other autoimmune diseases (such as diabetes) or stress.
Hyperthyroidism always requires treatment.
In addition to general symptoms (fatigue, nervousness, weight loss, tremors, etc.), hyperthyroidism can lead to complications such as osteoporosis or heart rhythm disorders. Synthetic antithyroid drugs are often prescribed as a first-line treatment and are very effective in most cases. If medication is not sufficient or cannot be stopped after several months or years, thyroid removal, by radioactive iodine or by surgery, is considered.
In some situations where the chances of healing without surgery are very low, early thyroid removal is suggested a few months after the diagnosis of Graves' disease. The choice regarding which method to be used (radioactive iodine or surgery) depends on several factors and the patient's preferences.