What is a ‘Thyroid Storm’?

Wednesday, 08 May 2013 04:17 PM

By Peter Hibberd, M.D.

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Question: What exactly is a "thyroid storm?" My significant other is having thyroid and parathyroid tests and he also has problems during sleep. He does have hair loss and has had tremors for several months.

Dr. Hibberd’s answer:
 
“Thyroid storm” is a rare but life-threatening condition when the body is flooded with excess thyroid hormone. Blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature rise rapidly and without much warning. If not treated rapidly, it may result in sudden death, stroke, or heart attack.
 
You will feel sweaty, short of breath, apprehensive, very anxious, and likely light-headed with a very rapid heart rate. If you have these symptoms, you need to go immediately to a hospital emergency room, as your life is in jeopardy.

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This condition is usually seen in untreated Graves’ disease, but can occur as a result of hyperthyroidism, thyroid medication, infection, thyroid surgery, radioactive iodine treatment, toxemia of pregnancy, goiter, withdrawal of thyroid medications, and severe stress.
 
It is best your significant other be under a professional's guidance for hyperthyroid management, as thyroid storm may occur at any time, especially with untreated hyperthyroidism. If a storm is suspected, call 911 without delay.

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