More About Hyperthyroidism and Osteoporosis

Thyroid gland is one of the important functional glands in the human body. It is located below the ‘Adam’s apple’ in the neck and normally works to maintain metabolism of the body with the help of thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which are iodine-containing hormones. Hyperthyroidism, also known as thyrotoxicosis, is a clinical condition characterized by an increased production of these thyroid hormones (T3 and T4). Grave’s disease (goiter), thyroid nodule formation and inflammation of the gland (thyroiditis) are the main common causes of hyperthyroidism. Recently, deficiency of thyroid secreting hormone (TSH) has been identified as the underlying cause. Hyperthyroidism and osteoporosis may be interlinked. Increased use of hormone therapy for treating hyperthyroidism can lead to increased chances of bone fractures and osteoporosis. Using proper levels of hormones in therapy becomes vital in hyperthyroidism and osteoporosis.

Studies have shown that women are at an increased risk of both hyperthyroidism and osteoporosis. Postmenopausal women are found to be more prone to hyperthyroidism and osteoporosis. Common presenting complaints in people with hyperthyroidism and osteoporosis are fatigue, excessive tiredness, sleeplessness, watery stools, unintentional weight loss, increased bone fractures, excessive sweating and heat intolerance. Any individual who ahs fragile bones and experiences constant tiredness should definitely consult a doctor soon. Hyperthyroidism and osteoporosis needs to be intervened on time else it can result in many critical complications like heart problems – congestive heart failure, rapid heart rate; ophthalmic or eye problems like bulging and reddening of eyes, vision disturbances; calcium absorption problems causing brittle bones; skin allergies etc. One of the major problems that a person suffering from hyperthyroidism should discuss with the physician is regarding the bone density status. Sometimes unmonitored thyroid medications can affect the bones and lead to osteoporosis or softening of the bones.

Another factor that can predispose a person from hyperthyroidism and osteoporosis is excessive stress. Stress can exacerbate the symptoms of hyperthyroidism and osteoporosis. A genetic predisposition is another reason for hyperthyroidism and sometimes in chronic conditions, can lead to osteoporosis. Since the incidence is more among women, they should regularly be screened for their thyroid levels. Those undergoing medication for thyroid disease should also be on a look out for symptoms of bone fragility. Hyperthyroidism and osteoporosis are generally diagnosed by a physician after taking a detailed case history and examination. Hyperthyroidism is confirmed after a blood test that examines thyroid levels. On confirmation of diagnosis, a physician often refers the patient to a specialist for further treatment. Management strategies generally vary depending on the causative factors of hyperthyroidism and osteoporosis. However, commonly drugs are prescribed by the specialist to reduce thyroid hormones in blood. In special situations, parts of the thyroid gland may have to be removed as well. Most of the times, the drugs can induce an imbalance in the levels of the thyroid hormones and causing the thyroid hormones to even reach lower than normal levels. In such cases, thyroxine replacement may be given to bring the levels back to normal. This needs to be monitored and dosage of drugs should be optimal, so that they do not interfere with the bone function. In case the levels of thyroid hormones remain high and for a longer period of time, the risk of osteoporosis increases.

Hyperthyroidism and osteoporosis can be prevented if intervened at the right time. Adequate exercise, diet and a healthy lifestyle can definitely help in keeping hyperthyroidism and osteoporosis at bay and also under control. It is never a wrong time to visit a physician when you suspect any of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. The prognosis of hyperthyroidism and osteoporosis can be good if monitored regularly along with making certain modifications in the lifestyle.

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