Thyroid storm (thyroid crisis) is a potentially life-threatening condition for people who have hyperthyroidism. Thyroid storm happens when your thyroid gland suddenly releases large amounts of thyroid hormone in a short period of time. If you have thyroid storm, you will need emergency medical treatment.
Thyroid storm is more likely to develop when a person has a serious health problem in addition to hyperthyroidism or in people who have untreated or undertreated Graves' disease. The problem usually happens after a stressful event or a serious illness, such as a major infection. It may also be triggered by surgery or by using iodine for a CT scan or in radioactive iodine therapy.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of thyroid storm include:
- Feeling extremely irritable or grumpy.
- High systolic blood pressure, low diastolic blood pressure, and fast heartbeat.
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
- High fever.
- Shock and delirium.
- Feeling confused.
- Feeling sleepy.
- Yellow skin or eyes.
- Symptoms of heart failure, such as breathing problems or feeling very tired.
Thyroid storm can lead to coma, heart failure, or death.
Current as of: March 1, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine