Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) occurs when the body produces too much of the thyroid hormone, thyroxine. Causes of hyperthyroidism include Graves’ disease or nodules in the thyroid gland.
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder, wherein your own body’s immune system makes an antibody that causes the thyroid to produce too much hormone, resulting in hyperthyroidism. Excess thyroid hormone causes symptoms, such as weight loss, fast heart rate, anxiety, hand tremors and heat sensitivity. Graves’ disease can also cause eye swelling, called orbitopathy, as well as a goiter. Treatment for Graves’ disease remains challenging and can include medications, radioactive iodine or thyroidectomy, all of which have different indications, risks and benefits. The expert endocrinologists, surgeons and radiologists at Keck Medicine of USC work closely to perform the testing necessary to make the correct diagnosis and discuss treatment options with each patient.