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Thyroid Storm

Thyroid Storm

Thyroid storm is an extremely serious condition wherein the thyroid gland produces abnormally high levels of thyroid hormone over a short span of time. This usually occurs in case of untreated hyperthyroidism, a trauma, or an infection. This HealthHearty article will give you a brief information on this life-threatening condition.
Batul Nafisa Baxamusa
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2018
Hyperthyroidism is a condition when the thyroid gland works overtime and produces a high amount of thyroid hormone in the body. This can lead to problematic outcome including, high heart rate, nervousness, irritability, excessive perspiration, anxiety, sleeplessness, brittle hair, muscle weakness in upper arms and thighs, hand tremors, etc. A thyroid storm could be a result of untreated or undertreated hyperthyroidism. It could also flare up due to an infection or trauma due to an ongoing illness or a recent surgery. Immediate medical attention is needed.
Symptoms
The commonly observed symptoms of a thyroid storm are listed below. All these symptoms are severe in nature and should not be neglected at any cost.
  • Mental confusion
  • Diarrhea
  • High systolic blood pressure and low diastolic blood pressure
  • Heart palpitations
  • High fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Tachycardia
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Extreme weakness
  • Shaking
  • Mood swings
  • Sudden weight loss in a short period
  • Excessive sweating
  • Restlessness
In the absence of timely medical intervention, a thyroid storm may lead to coma, heart failure, and even death.
Risk Factors
This condition can occur as a complication of untreated Grave's disease or hyperthyroidism. This is especially a major risk factor in female patients. Some of these risk factors that one should always keep in mind if suffering from hyperthyroidism or Grave's disease, are mentioned below.
  • Lung infection, pneumonia, or throat infections
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Insulin-induced hypoglycemia
  • Severe emotional stress
  • Recent thyroid surgery
  • Thyroid hormone overdose
  • Toxemia due to pregnancy and labor
Treatment
The treatment is carried out using a combination of antithyroid drugs, blockade iodine drugs, and beta blockers. It is an emergency condition that needs to be addressed immediately. The doctor may administer intravenous fluids and electrolytes. The fever is controlled using cooling towels, antibiotics, and nutritional vitamin supplements. If you or someone you know experiences high fever, high heart rate, palpitations, confusion, high blood pressure, weakness, nausea, vomiting, excessive sweating, breathing trouble, etc., you need to go to the emergency room without wasting any time.
One can prevent the condition by recognizing the symptoms and providing early aggressive treatment. After a patient is treated, he or she needs to visit the doctor regularly to get their health monitored. Proper treatment for hyperthyroidism is the key to prevent the condition. Early intervention is imperative for a successful recovery.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for expert medical advice.