Thyroid Storm: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment


Medically reviewed by

Bajaj Finserv Health


5 min read


A thyroid storm is an extreme effect of abnormal hormone secretion. High levels of these cause diseases like hyperthyroidism so it is important for you to notice thyroid storm symptoms given below.

Key Takeaways

  • Thyroid storm is caused by overproduction of thyroid hormones
  • Thyroid storm symptoms include high fever, high heart rate, and goiter
  • Thyroid storm treatment controls hormone secretion in your body

Ever start feeling anxious or irritated all of a sudden? It could be a sign of a thyroid storm. A thyroid storm is one of the detrimental health conditions that need your immediate attention. It is a result of hyperthyroidism that has not been treated and indicates high levels of thyroid hormones in your body. A recent study recorded a 10-30% mortality rate among patients who had thyroid storms [1]. The best way to treat this fatal disease is to get immediate treatment as prescribed by your doctor.

In order to do this and reduce the risk of complications, keep the common thyroid storm symptoms in mind, especially if you have been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. Read on to know what a thyroid storm is, its causes, the various signs and symptoms, and the treatment. 

What is a Thyroid Storm? 

A thyroid storm, also called thyrotoxic crisis, is an extreme condition that arises over time when hyperthyroidism is left unchecked. This health complication happens when your thyroid gland releases thyroid hormones in a high amount in a short time. It is considered life-threatening due to the health risks caused by the condition. You may feel very weak and experience many health issues as a result of issues with your thyroid hormone function. This is why it is so important to understand thyroid storm causes and its symptoms.

Thyroid Storm

Thyroid Storm Causes 

The high level of thyroid hormones produced by your thyroid gland is the main cause of thyroid storm. The thyroid gland is present in the middle of the lower part of your neck and releases two hormones, namely triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones regulate your body’s metabolism.

When these hormones are present in higher amounts, it causes your normal body cells to work rapidly. This hampers other body organs such as your heart and lungs. A thyroid storm can also occur due to other risk factors such as the following. 

  • Halting your anti-thyroid medicines against the doctor’s advice  
  • Illness like stroke, heart failure  
  • Having Graves’ disease that leads to hyperthyroidism  
  • Unrelated surgery in someone suffering from an overactive thyroid  
  • Several infections triggering high levels of the thyroid hormone  
  • Labour and delivery during pregnancy  
  • High blood sugar causes a build-up of ketones  
  • Formation of a blood clot in your lungs  
  • Stressful situations like trauma or dealing with a long-drawn infection  
  • Use of radioiodine therapy or iodinated contrast for CT scans [2]
Additional read: Signs That Your Thyroid Hormone Function Needs CheckingThyroid Storm risk factors

Thyroid Storm Signs and Symptoms 

High levels of thyroid hormones affect your body by causing many health issues. Some of these are the thyroid storm signs and symptoms that you should notice and include the following.  

  • High fever up to body temperature of 106o F  
  • High heart rate such as 140 beats/minute 
  • Anxiety or feeling irritated, confused or distressed  
  • Losing consciousness  
  • Urge to vomit or feel nausea 
  • Diarrhea  
  • Jaundice 
  • Goiter symptoms 
  • Dehydration and sweating 
  • Feeling restless  
  • Trembling  
  • Eyeballs protruding from the socket

Other serious health complications seen in patients are as follows. 

  • Heart failure 
  • Osteoporosis or brittle bones  
  • Coma  
  • Irregular heart rhythm or atrial fibrillation
Additional read: Goiter causes and symptoms

Diagnosis and Thyroid Storm Treatment

Knowing the severe health complications caused due to thyroid storm, the only way to avoid it is immediate diagnosis. As per experts, people who fall in the age range of 42 to 43 years are more likely to develop thyroid storm. To avoid such possibilities, visit your general physician on a regular basis. This way, your doctor will determine any signs of hyperthyroidism and treat them before a thyroid storm is likely to occur. The doctor will prescribe blood tests like T3 and T4 tests to you to detect high levels of thyroid hormones. If the results of these tests are positive, your doctor will find the best treatment to control your overactive thyroid gland.

Your doctor may also check your pulse as a high heart rate is also one of the common thyroid storm symptoms. She or he may also see if your thyroid gland is looking larger than normal since this signifies goiter. Your blood pressure is also checked as elevated systolic numbers, and low diastolic numbers are also a sign.

The thyroid storm treatment offered to patients mainly includes the following.  

  • Anti-thyroid medicines such as thioamides 
  • Beta-blockers to control any heart issues 
  • Medicines to lower your body temperature like acetaminophen 
  • Sequestrants for bile acids  
  • Oxygen supplement to help respiration 
  • Surgical removal of the thyroid gland

Now that you know about thyroid storms visit your doctor immediately when you notice any thyroid storm signs and symptoms. Apart from medical treatments, you can also control your thyroid hormone production with a few healthy lifestyle changes, like including yoga for your thyroid in your daily life.

To understand your risk of a thyroid storm better, book an online doctor consultation on the Bajaj Finserv Health app or website. Using it, you can consult with top specialists across India, be it a diabetologist or an endocrinologist, and get expert guidance to improve your health. You can even book thyroid tests here and avail exciting discounts while getting your blood sample collected from home.

To better protect your health, you can also choose a health insurance plan under the platform’s Aarogya Care umbrella. With a cover of up to Rs. 10 lakhs, you can address your health needs from illness to wellness comprehensively while you enjoy high network discounts, free preventive health check-ups, doctors visits & lab tests reimbursements, and much more! Start now and take these measures to live a healthy life ahead.

Published on 18 Aug 2022Last updated on 28 Dec 2022

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.


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