What Is A Thyroid Storm?

There is a very uncommon condition call a thyroid storm that happens when a huge excess of hormones present in the thyroid stress the body until the point of collapse. An event has to happen that triggers this very large release of the hormones in the patient that already is dealing with a thyroid gland that is already overactive. When hormones in the thyroid increase rapidly, the metabolic functions accelerate rapidly also. A dangerous deadly emergency will result from a thyroid storm.

Sweating and Fever

man-wrapped-in-brown-scarf-looking-at-thermometerWhen the thyroid storm occurs, there is a large intensification in the heat the body produces. Fever is the trademark symptom of this disease. There was an article published in 2006 in a journal that emphasizes that how high the fever will indicate how severe they thyroid storm may be. Drs. Kenneth Burman and Bindu Nayak stated fever will give them important information as to how far the thyroid storm has progressed. Patients with this disease will profusely sweat in an attempt for the body to cool down.


As the thyroid storm progresses, the thyroid hormones continue to circulate through the body at extremely high levels. This will cause the body to have tremors that are completely uncontrollable. This rhythmic shaking is completely unintentional. The head and hands typically will shake uncontrollably. Even though tremors will occur all over the body, they are not noticed as much. The patient going through the thyroid storm will say they are feeling like their body is trembling all over.

Restlessness and Agitation

Restlessness and agitation is an extremely apparent symptom of a thyroid storm. Rapid, intense, broad emotional swings will usually accompany the terrible agitation that the patient enduring this illness is suffering.

Paranoia, Confusion, and Psychosis

What Is A Thyroid Storm?A thyroid storm definitely reduces higher functions of the brain including reason, perception, judgement and comprehension. As the disease progresses, symptoms of a dysfunction of the central nervous system will occur. This will result in more confusion and agitation, along with psychosis and paranoia. This was stated by Drs. Leonard Wartofsky and Joanna Klubo-Gwiezdzinska in their article called “Thyroid Emergencies”. This was published by the Dept. of Critical Care Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. If the thyroid storm is severe, the amount of disturbance of the mental faculties of the patient will be severe. Therefore, if there is a presence of psychosis or paranoia, there more than likely will be a severe emergency medical situation.

Coma and seizures routinely develop if urgent treatment is not given to lower the thyroid levels that are circulating throughout the body.

Abdominal Pain, Diarrhea, Vomiting, and Nausea

The activity of the muscles in the gastrointestinal tract increase due to the activity of the thyroid hormones present. Burman and Nayak stated this in the review article. Profuse diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, and vomiting are classic symptoms of a thyroid storm. Shock may develop as the patient loses fluid through the symptoms described of the stomach and gastrointestinal tract. This frequently is a progressive symptom of a thyroid storm.

Palpitations of the Heart

Hormones raging during the thyroid storm causes the heart to pump faster and harder than it normally should. Patients will be aware of their heart pumping out of their chest. The heart is not able to keep this high level of pumping without creating an issue. It will begin to fail if it continues for any length of time. This is a usual cause of death in a thyroid storm.