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What does it mean to have a Thyroid Storm?

Technically, a Thyroid Storm is defined as a situation when one’s thyroid is producing far too high amounts of thyroid hormones and results in extreme hyper-like symptoms.

But there are situations where it’s not about one’s thyroid production, but can be from severe overdosing one’s thyroid meds (or even iodine supplementation). Or for some, can be a result of severe “pooling” of T3 due to raising thyroid hormones in the presence of undiagnosed or poorly treated low cortisol, or seriously low iron.

The results are symptoms akin to “hyperthyroidism” but even worse. It’s also termed thyrotoxicosis.

What are symptoms of a Thyroid Storm?

If one is having a storm, symptoms might include seriously acute symptoms such as:

  • very high temperature
  • very rapid heartrate (tachycardia)
  • feeling excessively anxious or irritable
  • weakness or fatigue
  • shakiness
  • shortness of breath
  • feeling hot or sweaty

What are the causes?

They vary between individuals, but can include:

  • Taking too high doses of thyroid hormones or iodine
  • Stopping one’s treatment for Graves disease
  • Raising thyroid hormones in the presence of untreated cortisol issues or seriously low iron (See below)
  • Pregnancy
  • Infections
  • High stress
  • Having a heart attack
  • Treatment with RAI (radioactive iodine)
  • Having thyroid surgery removal due to Graves disease

Do all cases of pooling due to low cortisol or low iron cause symptoms severe enough to resemble a thyroid storm?

No! The majority of cases of “pooling” do not fit the thyroid storm classification. But there have been rare cases reported by a patient that the severity resembled a thyroid storm, so it’s being included here. The majority of cases of pooling don’t seem to.

What do I do if I am having these symptoms in an extreme way?

Doctors usually recommend getting to an Emergency Room.