What Causes Hyperthyroidism?

To successfully treat and prevent recurrence of hyperthyroidism we need to understand and — if possible — remove the underlying causes and risk factors.  We need to ask: "What else is going on inside the body that might allow hyperthyroidism to develop?"

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Accurate diagnosis of the factors behind hyperthyroidism consists of three steps:

Step 1: List the Possible Causative Factors

Identify all disease conditions, lifestyle choices and environmental risk factors that can lead to hyperthyroidism.  Here are four possibilities:
  • Cigarette Smoke Damage
  • Copper Deficiency
  • Iodine Need
  • Adrenal Fatigue

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

Identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
occasional runny nose
hot flashes during period
inability to work under pressure
Addison's disease
low iodine consumption
dizziness when standing up
severe vision disturbances
vegan diet
constant thirst
major fatigue for 3-12 months
chronic thyroiditis
... and more than 50 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of hyperthyroidism:
Cause Probability Status
Adrenal Fatigue 92% Confirm
Iodine Need 26% Unlikely
Cigarette Smoke Damage 2% Ruled out
Copper Deficiency 1% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Glandular Symptoms section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about hyperthyroidism:
Possible responses:
→ Never had it / don't know
→ Probably had it/minor episode(s) now resolved
→ Major episode(s) now resolved
→ Current minor problem
→ Current significant problem
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate either history of hyperthyroidism or hyperthyroidism, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Copper Deficiency

Although supportive data is limited, a report from a study group of hyperthyroid women suggests that copper status should at least be investigated in women with hyperthyroidism.

"Thyroid and immune system health are crucially dependent upon copper.  As far as I can see now, copper deficiency is the most important factor in the development of hyperthyroidism.  Virtually all hypers in the hyperthyroidism group have found that copper supplementation reduced their symptoms, usually within hours or a few days at most.  Most have reported that within three to six months of beginning copper supplementation, they have been able to significantly reduce their intake of antithyroid drugs.  While copper is the big story in hyperthyroidism, it is not the whole story.  If it were, it would have been discovered years ago.  Proper copper metabolism interrelates with and depends upon many other nutrients." [John Johnson, iThyroid.com]

Iodine Requirement

Hyperthyroidism may occur, particularly in elderly people, due to long term slight iodine deficiency as this may result in additional nodules on the thyroid.

... and also rule out issues such as:
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