There are a number of symptoms that are associated with hyperthyroidism. However, note that association does not necessarily prove cause and effect!
The following symptoms are often associated with hypothyroidism:
- Bulging eyes (exophthalmos), eye pain, double vision, light sensitivity, or red/puffy eyes.
- Enlargement of the thyroid gland (goiter), feeling of lump in throat, difficulty swallowing, or hoarseness.
- Elevated basal body temperature and metabolic rate.
- Elevated heart rate, palpitations or irregular heart beat.
- Heat intolerance and increased sweating.
- Fine tremor, especially in hands or fingers.
- Anxiety, nervousness, and irritability.
- Underweight or unexplained weight loss, despite normal diet and good appetite.
- Diarrhea or frequent bowel movements.
- Change in menstrual cycle, especially shorter period.
- Erectile dysfunction.
- Thick, red patches of skin on shins or dorsum (top) of feet (rare).
The most severe form of hyperthyroidism is the thyroid storm, which is a medical emergency. Sudden onset of elevated body temperature, elevated heart rate, palpitations, tremor, and anxiety merits immediate referral to the emergency department of the nearest hospital.
Differential Diagnosis (DDX)
- Graves' disease
- Hashimoto's thyroiditis (early phase)
- Toxic multinodular goiter [Domino2017]
- Toxic adenoma [Domino2017]
- Subacute viral thyroiditis [Domino2017]
- Lymphocytic thyroiditis [Domino2017]
- Paradoxical hypothyroid (low basal body temperature with high sympathetic tone)
- Iatrogenic (iodine supplements, iodine contrast, medications such as amiodarone) [Domino2017]
- Iatrogenic (overdose of thyroid replacement products)
- Pituitary adenoma (producing TSH) [Domino2017]
- hCG-producing tumor (stimulates TSH receptors) [Domino2017]
- Ectopic center producing T4 (metastasis) [Domino2017]
- Pheochromocytoma (catecholamine-producing tumor)
- Anxiety disorder
- Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia
- Recreational drug abuse, e.g. phencyclidine (PCP), lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), or cocaine
- Serotonin syndrome
- [Domino2017] Frank J Domino, et al. The 5-minute Clinical Consult. Wolters Kluwer (2017). Amazon.