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Health Information



Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which more thyroid hormones are secreted than normal, causing the physiological functions of the thyroid gland to overwork. Hyperfunction of the thyroid gland, in turn, leads to rapid energy expenditure and hyperactivity of many bodily functions. The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is autoimmune disease, where the immune system, which should be attacking viruses from outside the body, mistakes the body’s tissues for foreign ones and attacks them. The typical example is Basedema disease (Graves’ disease). Depending on the level of occurrence of the disorder, the following types of hyperthyroidism are distinguished: primary, directly related to the thyroid gland (diffuse toxic goiter, nodular goitre, metastatic thyroid cancer, ovarian struma), and secondary, when the thyroid gland is disturbed due to diseases of other organs, for example, an increase in thyroid hormone levels may occur in pituitary adenoma or villous adenoma.


The patient may become hyperactive with physical activity even though he or she is standing still, not moving. The patient has palpitations, high or low blood pressure, shortness of breath, emotional outbursts, anxiety and sudden mood swings. The patient sweats profusely, and has a constant feeling of thirst, for this reason, drinks a lot of water, and feels fatigued, weakness and drowsiness. Due to excessive energy expenditure, the patient starts to lose weight and the thyroid gland increases in size.


A doctor can easily diagnose hyperthyroidism if an examination reveals symptoms and signs typical of hyperthyroidism and blood tests show elevated thyroid hormone levels. The diagnosis can also be confirmed by ultrasound and scintigraphy.

Treatment and course of the disease

The treatment of hyperthyroidism includes drug treatment (antithyroid drugs), radioactive iodine treatment and surgery. Drug treatment is the most common method of treatment in the Republic of Korea, where patients are prescribed antithyroid drugs. Antithyroid medication reduces the level of thyroid hormones by preventing their active production or secretion. Radioactive iodine treatment is relatively inexpensive, but it can cause hypothyroidism and is contraindicated in pregnant women. Surgical treatment is performed in cases of enlarged goitre and when radioactive iodine treatment is contraindicated.

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