Thyroid Disease: Hyperthyroidism vs Hypothyroidism


How can a person know if they have thyroid disease?

As person can be diagnosed with thyroid disease through a blood test. TSH (“thyroid stimulating hormone”) test is to determine whether your thyroid gland is working properly. The test can determine if you have an overreactive (hyperthyroidism) or under-reactive (hypothyroidism) thyroid even when you do not have any symptoms of thyroid yet. It is important to know, to ensure the thyroid disorder do not cause further health issues. Thyroid disease like hypothyroidism may sometimes not show noticeable symptoms in the early stages.

TSH level is shown in blood test report
TSH level - normal, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism

What is Thyroid?

Thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in your neck, along the front of your windpipe.

Thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in your neck, along the front of your windpipe. It makes hormones that help control many parts of your metabolism, like how fast your heart beats and how fast you burn calories.

Thyroid hormones helps:-

(i) metabolize fats, proteins & carbohydrates

(ii) maintain blood pressure, body temperature & heart rate.

Thyroid disease is common and often runs in the family, high chances to occur in women. Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are both severe thyroid conditions, but they are essentially opposites from one another.

Difference between Hyperthyroidism & Hypothyroidism

Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) – when it produces too much thyroid hormone.

Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) – when it does not produce thyroid hormone.

Hyperthyroidism & hypothyroidism have different signs and symptoms. However, sometimes the symptoms can be the same. For instance, enlargement of the thyroid, known as a goiter, can happen in both types of thyroid disease. The causes and treatments of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism differs.

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

Based on, these are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism :-

  • Hand tremor
  • Weight loss
  • Nervousness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Problem sleeping
  • Brittle skin
  • Muscle weakness
  • Irritability
  • Weaker or less frequent periods

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

Based on, there are several symptoms of hypothyroidism :-

  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Cold sensitivity
  • Weight gain
  • Dry skin
  • Forgetfulness

Which is worse? Hyperthyroidism OR Hypothyroidism

Neither is worse than the other. People can experience both, hypothyroidism is more common than hyperthyroidism. Both conditions can become an issue during pregnancy because hormones are in flux which causes problems for both the mother and baby. This is why women who have thyroid disease get tested more frequently during pregnancy and may need medication and/or dose changes.

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