Thyrotoxic Periodic Paralysis (TPP) is a disorder that causes muscle weakness due to high levels of active thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland is a gland of the endocrine system, and produces hormones that help control growth, digestion, and metabolism. When the level of thyroid hormones is too high it can cause problems with the muscles. The weakness or paralysis usually comes and goes and is reported most commonly in the shoulders and legs.
Episodes of muscle weakness tend to happen after having other associated symptoms like having a fast heart rate, a headache, difficulty sleeping, heat intolerance, tremors, or feeling one’s heart beat (palpitations). Less common symptoms include trouble breathing, speech difficulty, vision changes, and trouble swallowing.
During attacks of TPP, individuals are aware of what is happening to them and normal strength can often come back in between attacks. This disorder affects both men and women, but is most common in Asian men.
Individuals are more likely to have TPP if they have family members who also have TPP or hyperthyroidism. Doctors test for TPP by taking blood samples to see the level of thyroid hormones as well as the level of potassium and other salts.
Treatment options may include potassium to be administered during attacks, beta blockers to reduce the severity of attacks, as well as recommendations of diet change. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with TPP, talk with your doctor about the most current treatment options. Support groups are also good resources of support and information.
Description Last Updated: Sep 03, 2018