What is Hyperthyroidism?
When the thyroid is running high, the best way to think of it is a fireplace. The thyroid gets the impression that it needs to run "hotter". Because of this, it seeks out fuel to burn. Initially, it's not a problem, but eventually the body runs out of normal fuel and starts burning anything it can find. The body then starts using the protein in the muscles. This is why one of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism is weakness. The high running thyroid will also cause increased energy. Some of you are probably thinking, "I could use some more energy," but this is not a natural, pleasant, functional energy. Think of drinking three pots of coffee. The result is racing or fluttering heart, increased heart rate, shakiness, restless hands and legs, insomnia, and eventually adrenal (stress glands) burnout causing a feeling of being both WIRED and TIRED.
Causes of hyperthyroidism
There are many different causes for the thyroid going "hyper". Most of the issues are a confusion of the thyroid gland. The most common cause is the interrelationship between the thyroid and estrogen, and the thyroid and stress hormones. Both have the ability to cause the thyroid to be confused and shoot up into thyroid overload.
In this version of hyperthyroidism, the body is confused and makes antibodies that attack they thyroid gland and stimulate the thyroid to produce way too much thyroid hormone. Most endocrinologists see the answer to this problem as removing the thyroid, but Dr. Berglund would rather try to figure out WHY the body is making antibodies to itself. This is true for most autoimmune conditions (e.g. systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's Disease, multiple sclerosis, scleroderma and Sjogren's disease).
One of the most common causes of this thyroid excess is called post-partum (after childbirth) thyrotoxicosis (too much thyroid hormone). Pregnancy's high level of estrogen followed by dramatic drops right after delivery can create many issues in the body. This thyroid dysfunction is one of them. In many cases, if we allow this patient to continue in this hyper state, eventually their thyroid will get "worn out" and the patient will usually dive into hypothyroidism or inadequate production of thyroid hormone. Dr. Berglund's clinical experience shows that the patient needs to have their thyroid hormone levels lowered and their nutritional deficiencies (caused by the pregnancy) replenished. At the same time, she will need support for her body's production of normal levels of estrogens (estradiol, estriol and estrone) and progesterone.
Stress doesn't cause anything specifically. It's generally our response to stress that creates problems. Cortisol typically has a inhibitory effect on the thyroid, but on occasion some thyroids get stimulated. The answer in these situations is to support the body's stress glands and teach the patient how their worry or ramped up, fast-paced lifestyle is one of the core factors affecting them.