People with hyperthyroidism have a higher risk of developing further serious health conditions, such as cardiovascular and kidney disease. A person’s life expectancy may depend on whether and how they develop those conditions.

Someone with hyperthyroidism has an overactive thyroid gland that makes excessive amounts of thyroid hormone.

If an individual with the condition does not have serious complications, treatment is effective in managing symptoms and producing positive outcomes. In contrast, people who develop a rare complication known as thyroid storm have a death rate of about 16%.

This article discusses the life expectancy of a person with hyperthyroidism, including how the condition affects the body and how it poses a serious threat to health. It also examines thyroid storm, the prognosis for Graves’ disease, and treatment options.

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Data on the exact life expectancy of someone with hyperthyroidism are not available. That said, a 2017 study suggests that it is 3.1 to 3.5 years shorter than those without the condition.

However, this statistic does not show how life expectancy compares with that of someone without either type of thyroid disease. A 2019 study found that individuals with hypothyroidism who were aged 60 or older were 26% more likely to die from all causes than those without thyroid disease.

Factoring together the above two studies suggests that a person with hyperthyroidism who is aged 60 or older has a somewhat higher than 26% risk of death from all causes.

Learn more about hyperthyroidism.

Evidence indicates that people with hyperthyroidism have a higher risk of noncommunicable conditions. As these illnesses are serious, they can affect life expectancy. These conditions include:

Research provides an in-depth description of how hyperthyroidism increases the likelihood of cardiovascular disease. It harms the ability of the heart to contract and increases the risk of blood clots developing. This can lead to heart failure and increases the risk of coronary heart disease, which may result in a heart attack or stroke.

An older 2016 study reports that individuals with hyperthyroidism have a higher risk of death from all causes, with heart failure as the main cardiovascular cause.

Hyperthyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland makes more thyroid hormones than a person needs. Because these hormones regulate how someone uses energy, it affects many organs in the body.

The condition affects approximately 1% of Americans aged 12 years and older.

As hyperthyroidism speeds up many body functions, it can cause the following symptoms:

  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • shaky hands and muscle weakness
  • weight loss despite increased appetite
  • nervousness, tiredness, irritability, and trouble sleeping
  • frequent bowel movements
  • sweating or difficulty tolerating heat
  • enlargement in the neck called a goiter

In addition to cardiovascular conditions, complications include:

  • osteoporosis, a condition that involves thinning bones
  • Graves’ ophthalmology, an eye condition that manifests in outwardly bulging eyeballs
  • fertility and menstrual cycle problems

Thyroid storm is a sudden, rare, life threatening complication of hyperthyroidism that involves extremely high thyroid hormone levels. It can present with symptoms that include:

  • high fever
  • fast heartbeat
  • dysfunction of the brain and spinal cord, such as delirium or coma

In the United States general population, it affects 0.57 to 0.76 cases per 100,000 people per year. The death rate of this complication for those older than 60 years is about 16%.

Learn more about thyroid storm.

The most common cause of hyperthyroidism — Graves’ disease — is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks the thyroid gland. This results in the synthesis of excess hormones. It is responsible for four of every five cases of hyperthyroidism in the U.S.

Hyperthyroidism due to Graves’ disease has overall positive outcomes that stem from the effectiveness of treatment for symptom management. Although Graves’ disease has no cure, medications can manage thyroid levels in almost all cases.

Learn more about Graves’ disease.

Treatments for hyperthyroidism include:

  • Medications: Options involve anti-thyroid drugs, such as methimazole (Tapazole), which cause the thyroid gland to produce lower amounts of hormones. Another choice is beta-blockers, such as propranolol (Inderal LA), which help control symptoms by blocking the action of substances on nerve cells.
  • Radioactive iodine: This gradually destroys the cells in the thyroid gland that make thyroid hormones.
  • Surgery: This involves removing part or all of the thyroid gland.

The life expectancy of those with hyperthyroidism is generally favorable due to effective treatments.

However, people with the condition have a higher risk of developing conditions such as cardiovascular disease or chronic kidney disease, particularly if they do not seek treatment. Any of these can negatively affect the outlook.

They also are at risk of experiencing a rare complication known as thyroid storm, life threatening medical event. If someone experiences symptoms — such as high fever, fast heartbeat, and delirium — they should seek immediate medical attention.