When You Have Hyperthyroidism

You have been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. This means you have an overactive thyroid gland. Thyroid hormone is important to your body's growth and metabolism. But if you have too much thyroid hormone, your body's processes may speed up or overreact. This can cause many symptoms. Hyperthyroidism is treated with medicines, radiation, or surgery. Below are instructions for self-care and follow-up care.

Taking your medicine

  • Take your medicine exactly as directed. 

  • Take your medicine at the same time every day. Keep your pills in a container that is labeled with the days of the week. This will help you know if you’ve taken your medicine each day.

  • Try to take your medicine with the same food or drink each day. This will help you control the amount of thyroid hormone in your body. Take any calcium supplements at least 4 hours before taking or 4 hours after taking your thyroid hormone pill.

  • Don’t stop taking medicine. If you do, your symptoms will come back. Only make changes to your medicine routine as your healthcare provider instructs.

  • Keep a card in your wallet that says you have hyperthyroidism. Make sure it has:

    • Your name and address

    • Contact information for your provider

    • Names and doses of your medicines

Keeping track of symptoms

During your routine visits, tell your healthcare provider if you have any symptoms of too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism). This can be a side effect of treatment. Also tell your provider if you have symptoms of too much thyroid hormone.

Symptoms of too little thyroid hormone include:

  • Tiredness or low energy

  • Puffy hands, face, or feet

  • Hoarseness

  • Muscle pain

  • Slow heartbeat (less than 60 beats per minute)

  • Feeling abnormally cold when others feel comfortable

Symptoms of too much thyroid hormone include:

  • Restlessness

  • Fast weight loss

  • Sweating

  • Fast heartbeat (more than 100 beats per minute)

  • Feeling abnormally hot when others feel comfortable

  • For females, increased menstrual bleeding

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised. Make and keep appointments to see your provider and have blood tests. You will need regular blood tests for the rest of your life to check your hormone levels.

To learn more

These resources can help you learn more:

  • American Thyroid Association  703-998-8890 www.thyroid.org

  • Hormone Health Network  800-467-6663 www.hormone.org

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these:

  • Anxiety, shakiness, or sleeplessness that gets worse

  • Sore throat while taking medicines to control hyperthyroidism

  • Fever of 100.4°F ( 38°C) or higher, or as advised by your provider

  • Feeling sweaty and hot when others around you are comfortable

  • Shortness of breath

  • Trouble focusing your eyes or double vision

  • Bulging eyes

  • Weight loss for no obvious reason

  • Fast heartbeat at rest (more than 100 beats per minute)

  • Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter) that gets larger

  • Diarrhea

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