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Guide to Diabetes

What Is Thyrotoxicosis?

ThyroidThyrotoxicosis means that your thyroid gland is producing too much of the “thyroid hormones” T4 (Thyroxine) and T3 causing high levels of these hormones in your blood.


Thyroid hormones are normally responsible for ensuring that many processes within the body are working at the right rate. If too much thyroid hormone is produced then everything goes “too fast”.




Common symptoms include:

  • Weight loss in spite of a big appetite.
  • Palpitations or fast or irregular heart beat
  • Tremor or shakiness
  • Excessive anxiety
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Sweating
  • Intolerance of hot weather
  • Sore eyes
  • Itching
  • Thirst
  • Diarrhoea

You may also have notices a slight swelling in the throat due to a large thyroid gland also known as Goitre and in some cases may have some soreness, swelling, staring or prominence of the eyes (Thyroid eye disease)


When does it occur?


Most commonly occurs when the body begins to make antibodies against the thyroid gland. Antibodies are usually made by the body to fight off infections, and are responsible for immunity once the body has recovered from an illness such as measles or chicken pox. When such antibodies are made against tissues of your own body, this is called Autoimmune disease. No one knows why this occurs but the condition is very common, particularly in women and the tendency to get these type of disease often runs in families.

Antibodies attack a particular part of the thyroid gland, which responsible for switching on production of the thyroid hormones in response to a message from the pituitary gland which controls the activity of many hormones in the body. The thyroid therefore constantly produces thyroid hormones even though levels in the blood are already high.

Thyrotoxicosis is sometimes also known as Hyperthyroidism or Graves’s Disease (named after Dr. Robert Graves, a Dublin physician who first described it over 200 years ago.) For more information download the leaflet below. (1)


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