Overactive thyroid - a guide for patients

The commonest cause of 'overactive thyroid' is Graves' Disease.  This page contains two short presentations, produced by the Edinburgh Centre for Endocrinology and Diabetes, which explain what Graves' disease is, what tests are required and the available treatment options.  A good starting point for basic information is the British Thyroid Foundation, who have produced a number of guides which can be accessed by clicking the images below.  If there is anything you do not understand or wish to discuss further, please raise this with your doctor in the clinic.


British Thyroid Foundation Guides

ECED Graves' disease information videos

The first video explains:

  • What the thyroid gland does (00:35)
  • What symptoms occur when it becomes overactive (01:11)
  • What causes an overactive thyroid (02:52)
  • The tests your doctor may do (04:04)
  • Why it is important to stop smoking if you have an overactive thyroid (06:54)

The second video explains the three main treatments for Graves' disease (the commonest cause of an overactive thyroid):

  • Tablets (beta-blockers, carbimazole and PTU) (01:30)
  • Radioiodine (07:35)
  • Surgery (10:41)
  • Summary (11:30)


These are the first versions of our thyroid video guides - we are keen to receive patient feedback and can incorporate this into future versions of the guides.  If there are things which you felt could have been clearer or have any other comments, please email them to us at DiabetesFeedback.RIE@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk


The 'right' treatment very much depends on the individual and is a decision best made following discussion with your endocrinologist.