Plummer’s disease is a condition that causes hyperthyroidism

Plummer's disease is a condition that causes hyperthyroidism – Plummer’s disease is a condition that causes hyperthyroidism. Plummer disease (also known as toxic multinodular goiter) is a condition that causes hyperthyroidism, which is a condition when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone.

This condition refers to one or more nodules (usually benign growths) in the thyroid gland that make thyroid hormone without responding to signals to maintain thyroid hormone balance. The end result is that too much thyroid hormone can be produced and released into the bloodstream, resulting in hyperthyroidism.

1. Cause

Experts believe that Plummer’s disease may have a genetic link. If you have a family history of this condition, you are more likely to develop it. In addition, women are also more likely to develop toxic nodules than men, citing Penn Medicine.

Some factors that can increase the risk of Plummer’s disease include:

  • Iodine deficiency or deficiency is considered as one of the most important disease triggers.
  • People over the age of 40 are more likely to develop Plummer’s disease, especially those who have had non-toxic nodules for a long time.
  • Women have a 6-fold higher risk.
  • Family history of nodular goiter is also a significant risk factor.
  • Head and neck irradiation makes you susceptible to various thyroid diseases and nodule formation.

2. Symptoms

The main symptoms of Plummer’s disease are the same as those of hyperthyroidism. Too much thyroid hormone can cause:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Fatigue.
  • Increased appetite.
  • Weight loss.
  • Hard to sleep.
  • The face blushes (flushing).
  • Fast heartbeat or palpitations.
  • Increased sweating.
  • Heat intolerance.

This condition causes a goiter, which is an enlargement of the thyroid gland that can result in a protruding neck lump. However, the enlargement may not be visible at first, citing Verywell Health.

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People with Plummer’s disease may also experience:

  • Irregular menstruation.
  • Anxiety.
  • Muscle cramp.
  • Mood swings.

3. Diagnosis

It says on the American Thyroid Association website, the diagnosis of hyperthyroidism is made based on symptoms and physical examination findings, and confirmed by laboratory tests showing excess thyroid hormone.

In hyperthyroidism, there are high levels of thyroid hormone in the blood plus low levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Once the diagnosis of hyperthyroidism is made, a thyroid scan can be done. This test uses radioactive iodine to show where the thyroid is functioning. Toxic nodules appear in one area of overactivity and toxic multinodular goiter has many areas.

Thyroid ultrasound (USG) can also be used to better evaluate the presence of thyroid nodules.

4. Treatment

Treatment for Plummer’s disease may involve drug therapy and surgery. Medication can help control the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, but they won’t treat the underlying problem of the nodule overproducing thyroid hormone.

One option is radioactive iodine therapy to shrink toxic nodules. The radioactive form (isotope) of iodine is given in pill form. The thyroid gland absorbs most of the iodine in the body and does not differentiate between isotopes. Radioactivity kills thyroid cells. You may need two rounds of iodine therapy if you have a large goiter due to a toxic nodule.

Doctors may recommend surgical removal if the toxic nodule is too large to be treated with radioactive iodine therapy. Surgery involves removing most of the thyroid gland containing the nodule.

There may be enough thyroid tissue left to produce proper hormone levels. Medication may still be needed, especially if surgeons have to remove the entire thyroid.

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5. Prognosis

Some people with Plummer’s disease have no symptoms and may not need treatment. If symptoms are present, treatment is usually effective. In most cases, there is no recurrence of the disease after thyroid surgery. However, it should be noted that this disease tends to affect older adults, and at an older age complications are more likely.

The 2021 and 2022 studies also show that having a condition that causes hyperthyroidism, such as Plummer’s disease, may increase your risk of developing thyroid cancer.

If you have a lump in your neck or experience symptoms of hyperthyroidism, consult a doctor immediately. The doctor can perform tests to determine whether it is Plummer’s disease, or check for other underlying conditions that may be causing symptoms such as fatigue, fast heart rate, and weight loss.

Because the symptoms of hyperthyroidism can mimic other medical conditions, it may take time to get a proper diagnosis. Tell your doctor all your symptoms to get the evaluation and treatment you need.

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