Hyperthyroidism and Exercise.

Hyperthyroidism is an over active thyroid. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits low on the front of the neck. Your thyroid lies below your Adam’s apple, along the front of the windpipe. The thyroid has two side lobes, connected by a bridge (isthmus) in the middle. The condition of hyperthyroidism is where the thyroid secretes excessive amounts of thyroid hormones such as T3 and T4 (thyoxine). This is not to be confused with Hypothyroidism which is the exact opposite. Hyperthyroidism is a type of thyrotoxicosis which is a hyper-metabolic clinical syndrome which occurs when there are elevated levels of serum. The most common disease is often referred to Graves’ disease. Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder. Other causes of hyperthyroidism include inflammation, thyroid nodules and may also include tumors of the gland. Whatever maybe the underlying cause, hyperthyroidism is more common in women and in those normally with a predisposition or a family history. It is best to get a proper diagnosis before commencing an exercise regime. Exercise will be difficult as they will have a rapid heart rate, or tachycardia, even at rest. Physical activity that raises a heart rate that is already too high will overtax the heart and can lead to decreased exercise tolerance and possible heart damage. Another symptom of an overactive thyroid gland is unintentional weight loss, which can also cause weakness, tiredness, fatigue and an overall decrease in their exercise capacity. Clients may also experience a profound intolerance to heat particularly when they exercise. You may notice that they sweat much more than normal, both at rest and during exercise. Hyperthyroidism can also cause sleep disturbances, such as insomnia. This lack of sleep can therefore increase fatigue and weakness, which compromises people with this disorder to have the ability to exercise. Tell clients to consult with their doctor to ascertain exactly what is/has caused their hyperthyroidism and have them get it under control. Once they have the disease under control exercise can be slowly introduced. Fitness trainers should send all clients with this disease to their local physician and should not work with clients until they have the disease under control.

By: John Hart

Master’s In Education” (Disability/Rehab) Newcastle University Australia

“Grad Cert Education” Newcastle University Australia

“Diploma Fitness/Recreation”

“Diploma of Sport and Recreation”

“Cert 4 Personal Training”

“Level 1 Strength and Conditioning Coach”

Member of ASCA (Australian Strength and Conditioning Association)

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