When you first hear about the disease hyperthyroidism, one of the first things you may have learned is that it affects women more. While generally true, this doesn’t mean that men are safe from the likelihood of getting this disease.
Hyperthyroidism In Men
Men can also have hyperthyroidism – it affects them in unique and surprising ways.
However, as is with women, this doesn’t mean you don’t have any recourse. Medical treatments and visits to your doctor are keys to managing this disease effectively. Moreover, it always pays to be informed by doing your research about the disease. The more you know about it, the better you can manage your hyperthyroidism diagnosis or help that man dear to you with timely treatments like thyroid light therapy.
For that reason, this article will give the basics of hyperthyroidism in men, focusing on the risk factors, diagnosis, and prevention. Read on to know them.
One of the unfortunate facts about hyperthyroidism in men is that it doesn’t come with symptoms during its early stages. Once it progresses, hyperthyroidism can lead to higher risks and complications. Some of those are named below:
- Heart problems. Even in its mildest forms, hyperthyroidism may increase the likelihood of heart disease. It is because hyperthyroidism may also decrease the production of good cholesterol in the body.
- Mental health problems. If left untreated, hyperthyroidism also comes with the risk of developing anxiety and other mental health problems. Moreover, a gradual decrease in cognitive functioning may also ensue.
- Myxedema. This condition is one of the worst risks of hypothyroidism. But it can also occur in patients with hyperthyroidism, especially when it is left untreated for a long time. This circumstance is life-threatening, as metabolism may slow down until the patient falls into a slow coma.
Hyperthyroidism is usually diagnosed depending on the severity of your symptoms. One of the first steps is usually through a blood test to check how your thyroids function.
During the blood test, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is checked. Moreover, your doctor could also request to check the levels of thyroxine (T4). High levels of these would mean you have hyperthyroidism.
While there’s no one straightway to prevent hyperthyroidism, it still pays to live a healthy lifestyle. For instance, once you’ve been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, you can prevent it from progressing by avoiding specific foods that could worsen your condition.
Some of those foods to avoid include:
- Food with soy and iodine, like seafood and tofu. A compound in soy known as isoflavones and iodine may increase the risk of developing hyperthyroidism;
- Gluten in pasta and bread. At high levels, gluten may irritate the body’s small intestine. In effect, it may also hamper the absorption of thyroid hormone medication;
- Sugary food. It’s no secret that food containing high levels of refined sugar isn’t good for your health. One of its many adverse effects is how it can affect your thyroid health;
- Excess fiber from vegetables, legumes, and beans. While generally touted as healthy, too much of anything may also be bad for your health. When your body has too much fiber, it may complicate your ongoing hyperthyroidism treatment.
The Reason Why Hyperthyroidism Is Less Common In Men
Now that you have the basics on the risk factors, diagnosis, and prevention, it’s worth addressing the common question as to why hyperthyroidism doesn’t affect men as much as women. It is because hyperthyroidism is caused by an autoimmune disease, and women have a higher risk of developing autoimmune diseases than men.
The Symptoms Of Hyperthyroidism
A discussion on hyperthyroidism in men can’t be complete without discussing the different symptoms. After all, it’s through the early identification of those symptoms that proper treatment can be given.
The symptoms of hyperthyroidism in men and women are the same, given how the same effects on the slowing of the metabolism can happen. To that end, some of the most common symptoms are:
- Swelling of the thyroid gland;
- weight loss;
- Increased appetite;
- Muscle weakness;
- Irregular heartbeat;
- Nervousness and fatigue.
Some men may also experience a loss of interest in sex. This symptom in men could be due to the fact that they feel tired all-too-frequently, hence the loss of a man’s sexual interest and drive.
Unfortunately, in its early stages, hyperthyroidism doesn’t show any symptoms. It’s usually diagnosed once the disease progresses. And as it’s left untreated it may cause several health problems. Once diagnosed by your doctor, that’s when the right treatment can commence. Hence, never self-medicate.