Meaning and Example
In Biology, we come across a number of terms that start with the root word “hyper.” It originates from the Greek or Latin word hyper which literally means ‘above’ or ‘over.’ Some of the common biological terms starting with ‘hyper’ are hyperthyroidism, hyperventilation, hyperparasitism, hypersalivation and hyperextension.
Hyperthyroidism is the condition where the level of thyroid hormone is increased above the normal level causing serious health problems. Hyperventilation is caused when exhalation surpasses inhalation causing a decrease in carbon dioxide level in the body. In hyperparasitism, a parasite acts as another parasite’s host with regard to its feeding habit. When salivary glands produce more saliva than normal, it is called hypersalivation. Lastly, hyperextension is the condition when joints are opened or straightened way past the normal motion ranges. All these terms have been explained below in detail. Read on to get a clear idea.
What is Hyperthyroidism?
The thyroid gland placed at the base of the neck just below Adam’s apple in our body produces thyroxine (T4) hormone and triiodothyronine (T3). When the gland becomes overactive it starts to secrete more of thyroxine hormone. This condition is referred to as hyperthyroidism. In this condition, the metabolism process of the body is increased manifold leading to weight loss. The heartbeat becomes irregular too and the individuals with hyperthyroidism experience rapid heartbeat. If diagnosed early it can be treated but if left ignored it can become a serious health condition. Surgery may also be necessary with partial or complete removal of the thyroid gland.
What Causes Hyperthyroidism?
A thyroid gland can become overactive and produce too much T4 due to various reasons. These include:
a. Grave’s Disease
It is an autoimmune disorder. The immune system of an individual itself produces antibodies that in turn stimulate the thyroid gland to produce more thyroxin, thus leading to hyperthyroidism. Grave’s disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism.
b. Thyroid Nodules’ Hyperfunctioning
The thyroid gland is made up of adenomas. When one or more of these adenomas start producing more T4, the gland starts over-secreting and at the same time, it becomes bigger in size.
During pregnancy autoimmune condition can be triggered causing inflammation of the thyroid gland. This, in turn, causes excess secretion of thyroxin.
What are the Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism infests itself in the form of a number of symptoms such as:
- Goitre or enlarged thyroid gland
- Unintentional weight loss
- Tachycardia or rapid heartbeat
- Palpitations and arrhythmia
- Increase in appetite
- Increased irritability and anxiety
- Menstrual problems
- Excessive sweating
- Thinning of skin and hair
- Weakness of muscles
- Increased heat sensitivity
- Fine thinning hair
What are the Complications of Hyperthyroidism?
- Cardiac Problems
Hyperthyroidism affects the heart the most. The heartbeat gets altered, tachycardia sets in and heart rhythm disorder is also experienced. Congestive heart failure is common in this condition where the heart cannot pump enough blood into the circulation.
- Ocular Problems
Those who are affected by Grave’s ophthalmopathy, are more susceptible to developing eye problems such as redness of eyes, swollen or bulging eyes, blurred vision etc.
- Brittle Bones
Hyperthyroidism can lead to osteoporosis where the bones become porous and brittle. With the increase in thyroid hormone the body loses its ability to absorb calcium leading to brittle bones.
- Skin Problems
Sometimes in hyperthyroidism redness in the skin can be observed. Rashes occur on the skin of feet and shins.
Risk Factors of Hyperthyroidism
If there is a family history of hyperthyroidism, the individuals are more at risk of developing the same. Also, females are at higher risk of getting affected than males. Often other illnesses like type 1 diabetes, pernicious anaemia etc may also lead to hyperthyroidism.
What is Hyperventilation?
This is simply the condition when an individual starts breathing rapidly and exhalation becomes more than inhalation. This causes the balance of respiration to be lost and healthy breathing gets jeopardised. In this condition, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the body is reduced considerably. Due to this, the blood vessels are narrowed and blood supply to the brain is also reduced. Now, as the brain receives lower blood supply lightheadedness sets in. severe hyperventilation may even cause loss of consciousness.
What are the Causes of Hperventilation?
Several factors contribute to the onset of hyperventilation such as:
- Excessive bleeding
- Overdose of drugs like aspirin
- Lung infection
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Injuries to the head
- High altitudes etc
What are the Symptoms of Hyperventilation?
Hyperventilation infests itself in the form of following symptoms
- Fast breathing
- Blurred vision
- Tingling in the fingers
- Racing heartbeat
How to Treat Hyperventilation?
Some simple remedies can be followed for treating hyperventilation and keeping calm is the most important of them. Other techniques are:
- Breathing through pursed lips
- Breathing through the diaphragm instead of filling the chest
- Holding breath for 10-15 seconds
What is Hyperparasitism?
It refers to the feeding habit where the host of a parasite is also a host and the parasite is referred to as hyperparasite. They are commonly found in Hymenoptera, Diptera and Coleoptera order of insects. It is thought that hyperparasitism has evolved from primary parasitism.
It can also be found commonly in fungi forming sclerotia. This is a dense mass of pathogenic hyphae which are left to be present on the crop residues so that they can promote infection in the next season of crops too.
What is an Example of Hyperparasitism?
Larvae of Pieris rapae, small white butterflies, a pest for cabbages are parasitized by the larvae of cotesia glomerata, a type of wasp. Both of these are again parasitized by Lysibia nana.
What is Hypersalivation?
In this condition, the salivary glands in the mouth are hyperactive and secrete more saliva than normal causing an individual to drool unintentionally. This may occur due to poor facial muscle control. Other causes include:
- Dental cavities
- Gastroesophageal reflex
- Effects of tranquilisers or other drugs
How Can Hypersalivation be Treated?
The cause of hypersalivation determines the treatment process. Infection or dental cavities have to be treated accordingly. Certain medications like glycopyrrolate is often prescribed.
What is Hyperextension?
This is characterised by excessive joint movement when the angle as formed at a joint by bones is opened or straightened beyond the range of motion marked as normal. It leads to unstable joints, dislocation of bones and other injuries.
It is not always a problem and instead it is referred to as an exercise where a body part or a limb is positioned posteriorly with regard to the normal anatomical position. It is an exercise of back or lower back as well as the mid and upper back.
But among sportsmen, hyperextension of the knee is a common injury as the knees are very often bent beyond the range of motion.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
- What Foods are to be Avoided in Hyperthyroidism?
Ans. One must include low-iodine foods in the diet if one is suffering from hyperthyroidism. This includes non-iodised salt, egg whites, unsalted nuts, bread, potatoes, honey etc. Besides these, the diet should also consist of cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, mustard etc. Among vitamin and minerals, foods rich in iron, calcium, zinc, selenium, vitamin D, like milk and other dairy products, spinach, liver, cashews and other nuts (non-salted), pumpkin seeds, meat, fish etc should be taken. Rice, chicken, oats can also be taken in hyperthyroidism.
- What is Hypothyroidism?
Ans. This condition is just the opposite of hyperthyroidism. Here the thyroid gland fails to produce thyroid hormone in a normal amount. This alters the metabolic process of the body and makes the process slow. The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis which is an autoimmune disease. If an individual has undergone medical treatment with his thyroid gland removed, the risk of hypothyroidism increases. Common symptoms include fatigue, weakness, excess weight gain, dry hair and skin, irritability, depression, problems in the menstrual cycle, hair loss, and intolerance to cold etc.
- Is Hyperextension Bad for Bones?
Ans. Joints like knees can be hypermobile but at the same time, the knees are at more risk of hyperextension injuries. Hyperextension of the knees is characterised by too much opening of the knee at the back. As a result of hyperextension, the bones at the knee joint can be misaligned with a serious injury to the knee. The movement habits of such an individual can be affected adversely. In the long run, such hyperextension causes arthritis or inflammation of the knee joints. However, proper exercise and certain yoga movements can fix this problem and the affected individual can get rid of the discomfort. Thus, hyperextension in the form of exercise without supervision can be bad.
- How Can Hyperventilation be Prevented?
Ans. Breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide is a normal physiological phenomenon and goes on at a balanced rate. In hyperventilation, this balance is lost. However, certain practices can keep hyperventilation tendencies away and meditation is one of them. Also practising breathing with alternate nostrils can be helpful. Full body breathing and deep belly breathing can also act as a preventive measure of hyperventilation. Regular exercise, brisk walking, running or bicycling and doing yoga regularly can also help one get rid of hyperventilation.