THYROID

Signs of Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism: A Guide to the Two Thyroid Conditions

Hyperthyroidism occurs as a result of excessive hormone secretion

Hypothyroidism is a result of insufficient secretion of thyroid hormones

Early signs of hyperthyroidism include an increased heart rate or anxiety

D
Dr. Anirban Sinha
July 26th, 2021
8 mins read

The thyroid forms a part of the endocrine system, which is responsible for proper coordination of different activities in the body. It is a small gland with a butterfly shape located at the base of the neck. Hormones produced by the thyroid gland are responsible for the regulation of many body processes, right from the speed at which you burn calories to the rate at which your heart beats. When the thyroid gland produces either excess or less hormones, it shows signs of a thyroid problem i.e Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism respectyively. Both these conditions require timely medical intervention. Here’s a look at the two.

Additional Read: Thyroid: Causes, Symptoms & Prevention

What is hyperthyroidism? 

Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid gland operates in an overactive state and releases too many hormones. These hormones are T3 or triiodothyronine and T4 or thyroxine. The excessive secretion of these results in the speeding up of metabolic processes in the body.  

Consequently, your heartbeat rate increases leading to nervousness and anxiety attacks along with increased appetite. While it is common for both men and women to get hyperthyroidism, the probability of women suffering from this condition is more. [1]

hypothyroidism

Hyperthyroidism causes  

There are several triggers that can lead to you developing this condition. One of the most common hyperthyroidism causes is an excessive intake of iodine either through medicines or diet. This can lead the thyroid gland to produce excess hormones. Another cause is an autoimmune disorder known as Grave’s disease. Here, your body’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland and causes an excessive secretion of thyroid hormones.

The presence of thyroid nodules in the thyroid gland can also result in hyperthyroidism. Lastly, if the thyroid gland is swollen or inflamed, it can leak hormones, increasing the levels in the body.

Symptoms and signs of hyperthyroidism 

The symptoms of hyperthyroidism [2] include the following:

  • Profuse sweating 
  • Restlessness 
  • Anxiety attacks 
  • Loss of weight 
  • Sleeping issues
  • Irritability
  • Increased heartbeat rate
  • Brittle hair or nails
  • Muscle weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Menstrual issues

Complications of hyperthyroidism 

Excessive thyroid hormone effects are felt all over the starting from the heart to the bones. You may feel palpitations in your heart as a result of rapid heartbeat. This can prove problematic and increase the risk of having a stroke. Additionally, excessive thyroid hormones can cause brittle and weak bones, which can lead to osteoporosis. [2]

symptoms of thyroid disorder

Hyperthyroidism diagnosis and treatment 

Hyperthyroidism can be diagnosed with blood and imaging tests. There are umpteen treatment options for treating hyperthyroidism such as beta blockers and anti-thyroid drugs. However, a surgery can also be done to remove the thyroid gland altogether. In such cases, you need to take thyroid supplements regularly to keep your hormone levels in check.

What is hypothyroidism? 

Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland is unable to produce sufficient thyroid hormones. Though the symptoms remain unnoticeable in early stages, if left untreated, this can result in health problems such as joint pain, obesity, heart disease, and infertility. Women are more likely to suffer from hypothyroidism than men and this condition is common in people above 60 years of age. [3]

Hypothyroidism causes  

One of the common causes of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. In such a condition, your body produces antibodies that attack your own tissues. Other reasons include anti-thyroid medications, thyroid surgery, or even radiation therapy.

Signs of hypothyroidism in women and men 

Some of the thyroid condition symptoms include the following.  

  • Weight gain 
  • Puffy face 
  • Fatigue 
  • Depression
  • Slow heartbeat rate

Complications of hypothyroidism 

If hypothyroidism is not treated, it can cause health ailments such as goiter, heart-related issues, myxedema, mental health issues, and peripheral neuropathy. In some cases, it can lead to birth defects if the mother isn’t treated for the condition and in others, it causes infertility.

Hypothyroidism diagnosis and treatment 

Like hyperthyroidism, this condition can be diagnosed with a physical examination or by conducting thyroid blood and imaging tests. Since hypothyroidism occurs as a result of insufficient secretion of thyroid hormones, it can be treated by taking hypothyroid medication such as levothyroxine.

Considering how common it can be to develop these issues, pay close attention to the symptoms. Early treatment can help avoid complications and may even help ensure a full recovery. However, when you do face any of the thyroid condition symptoms, book an appointment with a doctor right away. To find the best in your area, count on Bajaj Finserv Health. Search for specialists and book appointments, either in-person or teleconsultations, online and within minutes.

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

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