Hypothyroidism vs hyperthyroidism symptoms and causes may be similar but these two thyroid disorders have opposite diagnosis. The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck which affects the functionality of every organ in the human body. If the thyroid gland is not working properly, it can cause your body to develop various symptoms. The differing symptoms of hypothyroidism vs hyperthyroidism can sometimes be so subtle, you may not be aware your body is changing.
Hypothyroidism vs Hyperthyroidism: What’s the Difference?
What Causes Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism
Hypothyroidism is caused by an under-active thyroid gland whereas hyperthyroidism is caused by an overactive thyroid gland. In regards to your overall health, it is crucial that thyroid conditions are discussed with your doctor in as much detail as possible so they can be properly diagnosed and treated.
This condition may slow the natural functions of the human body. Hypothyroidism may occur at any age, however, as you get older the chances increases. When developing hypothyroidism, women are three times more likely than men to develop this condition.
Possible And Common Causes Of Hypothyroidism
One of the most common causes of hypothyroidism is genetics, however, there are many others such as:
- Hashimoto Thyroiditis: an autoimmune disorder
- Low iodine diet
- Surgical removal of thyroid gland
- Radiation exposure: usually from radiation cancer treatments
- Various medications: medications commonly used to treat psychiatric conditions, cancer, and heart conditions
Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism
The symptoms of hypothyroidism can resemble the symptoms of other disorders such as iron deficiency, anemia, and disorders that can cause fatigue. Moreover, its symptoms include:
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
- Lack of appetite
- Hair loss and/or dry hair
- Dry skin
- Brittle nails
- Muscle cramps
- Slow heart rate
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Goiter or an inflamed thyroid gland
- Cold sensitivity, especially in the hands or feet
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
If you think you may have hypothyroidism, speak with your doctor about conducting a thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test. Additionally, if the results come back positive, it is crucial to start treatment as soon as possible — whether it is a medical treatment (thyroid replacement medication) or natural hypothyroidism treatments at home.
Hyperthyroidism may accelerate the natural functions of the human body due to an overactive thyroid. Additionally, it is less common than hypothyroidism, only affecting about 1% of the American population.
Possible And Common Causes Of Hyperthyroidism
Like hypothyroidism, it can be genetic and is more common in women than men. Furthermore, hyperthyroidism usually occurs between 20-40 years of age and can be caused by events of extreme physical stress such as pregnancy. Other common causes include:
- Graves disease: an autoimmune disorder which causes the stimulation of T4 and T3, the thyroid gland hormones
- Thyroid Nodules
- Inflammation of the thyroid gland
Symptoms Of Hyperthyroidism
Although symptoms of thyroid conditions may not present themselves rapidly, they do become clearer over time. As the activity of the thyroid gland increases, deficiencies will also increase. If you have hyperthyroidism, you may experience some of these symptoms:
- Unexplained or sudden weight loss
- Itchy skin
- Fine hair and/or hair loss
- Experiencing more bowel movements than normal; diarrhea
- Feeling ‘wired’
- Periods of excessive sweating
- Racing heartbeat
- Heat intolerance
- Shakiness and/or tremors
- Overactive reflexes
If you think you may have hyperthyroidism, speak with your doctor about conducting a thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test and other necessary tests to properly diagnose this condition. Also, if diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, it is important to discuss treatment options with your doctor as soon as possible.
Furthermore, if left untreated, hyperthyroidism can cause bone loss and an irregular heartbeat. A prolonged irregular heartbeat can result in stroke.
Watch this video from Registered Nurse RN to find out more about hypothyroidism vs hyperthyroidism!
Thyroid disorders may affect how your body works, but are manageable. Therefore, if you think you have hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, get tests done for proper diagnosis. In addition, if left untreated, the extended periods of high or low thyroid levels can hurt your overall health.
Have you been diagnosed with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism? We would love to hear from you. Share your story with us in the comment section below.