thyroid gland with arrow pointing upwards and text bubble saying what is hyperthyroid disease?

Hyperthyroidism is the abnormally high activity of the thyroid gland. Since the thyroid gland serves so many functions, signs and symptoms are varying and can affect many aspects of human health. Hyperthyroidism is diagnosed by signs and symptoms and confirmed with blood tests and sometimes scans.

It affects approximately 2% of women and 0.2% of men.

A Review of Normal Thyroid Function

Thyroid function is controlled by a variety of glands and hormones, as depicted in the figure below.

For more information, please click here for a full detailed explanation.

a full schematic of thyroid physiology, including hypothalamus, anterior pituitary gland, thyroid gland and the hormones TSH, T3 and T4


As mentioned previously, hyperhyroidism describes high thyroid activity. This means that T3 and T4 are having an elevated effect throughout the body.

The image below depicts how high functioning thyroid may look on blood work. High T3 and T4, as well as a low TSH are commonly seen in patients with high thyroid activity.

thyroid physiology involved in hyperthyroidism showing T3 and T4 hormones have increased expression while TSH drops

Causes of Hyperthyroidism [15]

There are various causes of excessive thyroid activity. Anyone diagnosed with hyperthyroidism must ensure their health care provider has investigated the following, as treatment options vary drastically from one cause to another.

There are 2 main categories of hyperthyroidism: stimulatory and non-stimulatory.

Stimulatory Causes: positive radioactive iodine scan

  1. Graves' Disease (60-80%) of cases
  2. Trophoblastic Tumors activate TSH receptors via HCG (Choriocarcinoma)
  3. TSH-secreting Pituitary Adenoma

Non-Stimulatory Causes

  1. Toxic Multinodular Goiter (5%, especially elderly people in Iodine deficient regions)
  2. Toxic Thyroid Adenoma (Plummer's Disease)
  3. Exogenous Thyroid hormone source
  4. Thyroiditis (common)
  5. Subacute Thyroiditis
  6. Acute Thyroiditis (Bacterial Infection)
  7. Postpartum Thyroiditis (Lymphocytic Thyroiditis)
  8. Tumors (rare)
  9. Metastatic Follicular Thyroid Cancer
  10. Ovarian Cancer producing Thyroxine (struma ovarii)
  11. Medication-Induced Hyperthyroidism

Combined Stimulatory and Non-Stimulatory Causes: (positive Radioactive Iodine scan)

  1. Nodular Goiter with superimposed stimulation

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

Since thyroid function controls every aspect of your body, symptoms can be quite broad. In fact, none of these are specific to hyperthyroidism, which is why a thorough history and medical history, as well as lab testing is crucial.

Neuropsychiatric symptoms

  • Nervousness or alertness
  • Emotional lability (Anxiety, Irritability or even Psychosis)
  • Proximal Muscle Weakness
  • Insomnia

Adrenergic symptoms

  • Palpitations
  • Tremor
  • Frequent Bowel Movements or Diarrhea
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Heat intolerance


  • Weight loss despite increased appetite (hypermetabolism)
  • Oligomenorrhea or amenorrhea
schematic of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, including neuropsychiatric, generalized and adrenergic


Hyperthyroidism is a condition characterized by excessive thyroid function. Since the thyroid serves so many functions throughout the body, heightened thyroid function will present with a variety of signs and symptoms. Treatment varies from person to person.

Book in with your naturopath to discuss the unique approaches to treating the various forms of hyperthyroidism.


Interested in learning more?

Read on in our series of articles on Thyroid Health!

About the Author - Dr. Johann de Chickera

man facing camera

Dr. Johann is a fully licensed Naturopathic Doctor. His approach emphasizes the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and improving one’s health naturally. Dr. Johann obtained a Doctor of Naturopathy at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM). Education at CCNM is a vigorous four years, with a curriculum involving biomedical sciences, physical diagnosis, clinical nutrition, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, botanical (herbal) medicine, physical medicine, homeopathy and lifestyle management.

While Dr. Johann has a general practice, he focuses on fertility, hormonal imbalances, gut health, and autoimmune disease.

To book in please call us at (519) 442-2206 or click here.


  1. trudycropper on January 18, 2023 at 2:22 pm

    Your means of telling everything in this article is truly good, all be capable of easily understand it, Thanks a lot.

  2. miradecker on February 16, 2023 at 7:23 pm

    Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to create a top notch article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and never manage to get nearly anything done.

  3. tiffinycatts95 on March 8, 2023 at 4:39 pm

    Hello! Someone in my Myspace group shared this website with us so I came to give it a look. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Excellent blog and superb design.

  4. margaritorene on March 9, 2023 at 4:03 pm

    Wonderful blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely overwhelmed .. Any suggestions? Kudos!

  5. willardq44 on March 22, 2023 at 7:54 pm

    Howdy! This blog post couldn’t be written much better! Going through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept preaching about this. I’ll send this information to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

  6. veronicajenks2 on March 29, 2023 at 8:13 pm

    Just want to say your article is as amazing. The clearness in your post is just excellent and i can assume you are an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the rewarding work.

  7. jonasmesserly53 on April 18, 2023 at 4:39 pm

    Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve visited your blog before but after looking at many of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely pleased I came across it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back often!

Leave a Comment