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Hyperthyroidism - How to prevent thyroid storm?


Hyperthyroidism - How to prevent thyroid storm?


Hyperthyroidism - How to prevent thyroid storm?

Thyroid storm can actually be said to be a more intense form of hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid. This usually happens to persons whose thyroid gland is overactive and starts to produce too much of the thyroid hormone. Thyroid storm is an unusual but life-threatening emergency, which requires immediate treatment. It is a sudden acute form of hyperthyroidism. The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland that is situated in the neck below the voice box. It produces hormones that control your weight, temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate. When this gland is overactive, hyperthyroidism develops. Thyroid storm is a condition that develops in a person with hyperthyroidism when the level of thyroid hormones suddenly become very high worsening the symptoms. This can be fatal, if not treated immediately. The most important feature of this condition is the body temperature, which becomes very high.
Is thyroid storm dangerous?
Thyroid storm is a very dangerous condition. Blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature of a person having thyroid storm, can reach dangerously high levels and can be life-threatening. If you even have a small doubt of having thyroid storm, then you must immediately be admitted to a hospital. If thyroid storm is not treated within hours, then a heart attack could be the result.
What causes thyroid storm?
Thyroid storm is caused by various conditions, which include:
  • Very high doses of thyroid medication.
  • Suddenly stopping the medication prescribed for hyperthyroidism.
  • Any infection in the body, especially lung.
  • Thyroid surgery in a person with hyperactive thyroid gland.
  • Heart attack in hyperthyroid persons.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Radioactive iodine treatment.
What are the symptoms of thyroid storm?
If you have hyperthyroidism, you and your family have to be aware of the symptoms of thyroid storm, as it requires emergency medical attention. The symptoms of thyroid storm include:
  • Very high body temperature (more than 106°F).
  • Very fast heartbeat (more than 140 beats/minute).
  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • Chest pain.
  • Anxiety.
  • Weakness.
  • Irri tability.
  • Disorientation.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Heart failure.
  • Jaundice.
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Generalized swelling.
  • Dehydration.
How is thyroid storm treated?
Thyroid storm is a life-threatening condition, and you will have to be admitted in the emergency department (ED) of a hospital without wasting time. In the ED, the doctors after assessing your condition will first give you medications, which will control your symptoms and bring your vital parameters back to normal. You will be given oxygen, intravenous fluids, and medicines to bring down the fever. Ice packs, cooling blankets, and fans are used to bring down the high fever.
Medicines to block the production and effect of the excessive thyroid hormone will also be given immediately. Steroids and other anti-inflammatory medications may also be given. The exact cause that precipitated thyroid storm will also be identified and treated. Your blood will be taken for tests, which include complete blood count, liver function tests, kidney function tests, and thyroid antibody tests. After the thyroid storm has been treated, you will be put on certain antithyroid medications or given radioactive iodine. Usually, surgery is not required for treating thyroid storm. You must go for regular follow-up, as you will have to be monitored and have your thyroid condition treated to prevent a recurrence.
What can I do to prevent thyroid storm?
It is very important for you to keep your regular appointments with your doctor and have your hyperthyroidism (hyperactive thyroid) monitored and treated. You can prevent thyroid storm by:
  • Controlling factors that can worsen your hyperthyroidism.
  • Keeping a close watch on your condition and monitoring your symptoms.
  • Going to your doctor for regular follow-up.
  • Educating yourself about thyroid storm.
  • Getting yourself treated earlier, if you have any warning symptoms of thyroid storm.
  • Avoiding excessive caffeine/nicotine.
  • Withdrawing yourself from situations, which can cause stress and precipitate anxiety.
  • Avoiding long strenuous exercise.
  • Following a well-balanced diet that provides for the increased metabolism.
  • Not having foods or drinks containing artificial preservatives, which can make you irritable.
  • Getting yourself treated earlier for any infection.
  • Not discontinuing medicines prescribed for your hyperthyroidism.
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