A thyroid storm is a condition that can come on suddenly and violently. It involves a cluster of related symptoms whose onset are more or less simultaneous and can include mental confusion, pounding heart (tachycardia), high fever of 105 degrees or more, a general sense of agitation, psychosis, sweating, and heavy trembling.
It is important to understand that if you are having some of these symptoms you may not be experiencing a thyroid storm at all. Instead, you could be experiencing an anxiety (panic) attack, possibly also related to increase thyroid level or other factors. But, it will not involve the high ever of the storm.
A thyroid storm, on the other hand, is much more severe than a panic attack and people who have had both know the difference. With a panic attack, you may feel totally awful, out of control, with a fast heart beat, etc. However, it will be tolerable at least to some extent. By contrast, with a thyroid storm, you may feel like you are going to collapse and will require immediate medical attention.
The onset of a storm is due to a combination of two factors: one underlying and one immediate. The underlying cause is having the condition of hyperthyroidism (thyrotoxicosis), which means that the body is producing too much of the thyroid hormone on a regular basis.
Meanwhile, the immediate cause is that of going through stress or a trauma. The increases spike in stress levels causes the thyroid storm to begin.
How to Stop a Thyroid Storm
The condition can last for an hour or more. There is no way to stop it yourself without medical help. If you are experiencing a thyroid storm, you should contact emergency medical technicians (EMTs) or have someone you know take you to a hospital emergency room.
There, the doctors may carry out a number of medical procedures including: supplying you with electrolytes, affixing an oxygen mask, administering fever control drugs, giving you hydrocortisone, administering anti-thyroid medications, and supplying the body with iodine (to block thyroid hormone release).
Preventing Future Occurrences
However, you can stop the recurrence of a thyroid storm by having your hyperthyroidism treated by a doctor. Depending upon the nature of your hyperthyroidism, it can be treated by various methods, including anti-thyroid drugs, radioactive iodine treatment, and surgical remove (either of the entire thyroid gland or of a nodule on the gland).
Removing Your Thyroid Through Surgery
If your doctor decides that your thyroid should be removed via surgical means (thyroidectomy), rest assured that this has become a routine procedure that in many cases can be performed as outpatient surgery that does not require an overnight hospital stay. Other types of thyroid surgery are inpatient and require a hospital stay.
Going through a thyroid-induced panic attack can be an extremely scary, unsettling and uncomfortable experience. And, experiencing a thyroid storm is even worse and is life-threatening. In either case, your doctor may later recommend that you have part or all of your thyroid removed via surgery. Follow your doctor’s recommendations in order to improve your overall health and well-being.