Hyperthyroidism | Complications


Are there any complications I should know about?

If it is not treated, hyperthyroidism can lead to other health problems. They include:

  • Heart problems. A rapid heart rate, a heart rhythm disorder (called atrial fibrillation) or congestive heart failure can result.
  • Brittle bones (osteoporosis). Too much thyroid hormone can interfere with your body’s ability to incorporate calcium into your bones. Be sure to get enough calcium in your diet to prevent osteoporosis.
  • Eye problems due to Graves’ opthalmopathy. To relieve the symptoms of Graves' opthalmopathy:
    • Apply cool compresses to your eyes
    • Wear sunglasses
    • Use lubricating eyedrops
    • Elevate the head of your bed to reduce blood flow to your head
  • Red, swollen skin on the shins and feet due to Graves' disease. Try using over-the-counter creams containing hydrocortisone for relief.
  • Thyrotoxic crisis. A sudden worsening of hyperthyroidism symptoms that leads to a fever, rapid pulse and even delirium (symptoms of which can include decreased awareness and mental clarity, restlessness and agitation). See a doctor right away if this occurs.


Hyperthyroidism: Diagnosis and Treatment by JR Reid, M.D., and SF Wheeler, M.D. (American Family Physician August 15, 2005, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20050815/623.html)

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 03/14
Created: 08/05