Welcome to one of the few resources online that examine the experience of hyperthyroidism generated by a “hot” nodule – a.k.a. toxic adenoma of the thyroid; a.k.a. hyperfunctioning nodule; a.k.a autonomous nodule.
Because while thyroid conditions are quite common (12 percent of the population), nine out of ten thyroid disorders are going lead to HYPOthyroidism. Only about 10 percent of thyroid disorders lead to hyperthyroidism (that’s 1.2 percent of the population), and the vast majority of hyperthyroidism is caused by autoimmune Graves’ Disease. Only 3 to 5 percent of hyperthyroid conditions are caused by a hyperfunctioning “hot” nodule. Meaning virtually every book, every web site, and every blog on the internet that addresses hyperthyroidism is written for someone with Graves’ Disease. After all, if only about 1.2 percent of the American population – about 4 million people – can be counted as hyperthyroid, then roughly 160,000 people are suffering with a hot nodule. Apparently, that’s not a large enough audience to tempt publishers, or even bloggers, to offer information to those of us carrying one of these troublesome growths.
But if a rogue nodule is making your life miserable as it has been making mine - and the curt answers one typically gets from a harried endocrinologist in a 15-minute appointment don’t satisfy your need to understand - you will go looking high and low in the information desert on toxic nodules for any scrap of data you can find. Your search has clearly brought you here.
Developing an overactive thyroid can cause incredibly stressful and frightening symptoms, both physical and mental, whether it is caused by Graves or a hyperfunctioning nodule. But with Graves Disease, there is a path to follow in trying to reverse the autoimmune component - such as cleaning up one’s diet - and a real chance of remission (30 to 40 percent). While spontaneous remission of a toxic nodule is possible, it is exceedingly rare. There are no chipper voices that outline the steps for a cure as in Graves disease; cleaning up one’s diet is not likely to make a difference. There is no path to reversal, there is only the choice to pursue treatments with a high risk of permanent hypothyroidism, or working with one’s doctor to manage it. Neither road is smooth.
On this website you will find personal experiences, including my own, of those who have been diagnosed with a toxic nodule, along with every bit of information I have collected for myself. I hope something here helps you feel less alone and less afraid of what can often feel like a ticking time bomb inside your neck.
I am Teena Booth Vance, a writer living in my California dream house with my dream husband, and a not-so-dreamy health condition. In March 2018, at the age of 54, and after years of “weird episodes” of a racy, jumpy heartbeat, insomnia and out-of-nowhere panic attacks, I was diagnosed with subclinical hyperthyroidism from a hot thyroid nodule. Now I am learning everything I can about the troublesome thing – and how to live with it – and I’m ready to share.