All the Signs, Symptoms, Triggers and Treatments of Hypo and Hyperthyroidism

There are a lot of questions surrounding thyroid health. What does the thyroid do? What does it mean when your Doctor tells you have hyperthyroidism, or even more common, hypothyroidism? And what’s the difference? We’ve answered all of your top questions about thyroid health right here!

What does a thyroid do?

The thyroid gland secretes hormones to regulate many metabolic processes, including growth and energy expenditure. If the thyroid gland is overactive or sluggish, the metabolism will be affected, leading to a variety of symptoms that are easily misdiagnosed. Around one in 20 people will experience some form of thyroid dysfunction in their lifetime. Women are more susceptible than men.

thyroid - Hypo and Hyperthyroidism

What is the difference between Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism?

The big difference between the two is the hormone output from the thyroid. Hypothyroidism means your thyroid gland isn’t making enough thyroid hormone for the body’s needs, where hyperthyroidism means your thyroid is making too much.

How can you tell if you have either of them?

The symptoms of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism vary greatly due to the different changes in hormone output. With hypothyroidism you’re usually feeling sluggish, lacking concentration, have dry skin, thinning or coarse hair, muscle pains or cramping, fluid retention and sensitive to cold temperatures.

People with hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, tend to have unexplained weight loss, accelerated heart rate, sensitivity to heat, sleeping difficulties, irritability, nervousness or anxiety, and diarrhea.

You may also have a large lump on your throat, which is called a goitre. This means your thyroid is working too hard or you have a significant iodine deficiency.

What triggers thyroid issues?

Three of the main triggers for thyroid conditions are lifestyle related:

  • Chronic stress
  • Overload of toxins
  • Iodine deficiency
  • Heavy metal build up

The other main triggers are various autoimmune conditions. Hyperthyroidism can be caused by conditions that increase thyroid hormone production such as Graves’ disease, subacute thyroiditis, or toxic adenomas. Whereas hypothyroidism is usually triggered by conditions that reduce the production of thyroid hormones including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, thyroid removal, or excessive exposure to iodide or lithium.

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