Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are two different diseases with a common culprit—the thyroid. This small, butterfly-shaped gland is located at the bottom of your neck, right below the Adam’s apple. The thyroid releases two hormones–triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4)–which regulate things like your weight, metabolism, body temperature and brain function.
When your thyroid is out of balance, it may underproduce or overproduce hormones, resulting in thyroid disease. Many people suffering from a thyroid disease are unaware they have it. When left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to serious complications, such as heart disease, infertility and depression. On the other hand, undetected and untreated hyperthyroidism can result in osteoporosis, heart arrythmia and hypertension.
It’s believed women are more prone to developing thyroid disease as well as Individuals over 60 and those with a family history of the diseases.
What Is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism happens when T3 and T4 levels are too low, resulting in the slowing down of significant body processes. Hypothyroidism is commonly caused by Hashimoto’s disease, which is an autoimmune disorder occurring when the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid’s hormone-producing cells.
Other less common causes of hypothyroidism include radiation treatment, surgical removal of the thyroid gland due to cancer and low iodine levels in the body.
How to Recognize Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism can manifest in a variety of ways. You should seek medical advice if you’re experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:
- Unexplained weight gain
- Feeling unusually cold
- Chronic fatigue
- Brain fog
- Irritability and depression
- Hair loss
- Heavy and irregular periods
- Decreased sweating
- Dry skin
- Brittle nails
- Muscle and joint pain
The most common treatment of an underactive thyroid involves taking replacement medications. If your doctor diagnoses you with hypothyroidism, you’ll be given synthetic hormones in the form of pills to restore optimal levels of T3 and T4 in your body.
While the condition cannot be fully cured, taking the right dose of hormones prescribed by your doctor will help to keep hypothyroidism from reoccurring.
What Is Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism results from an overactive thyroid that produces too much hormone. The condition is typically hereditary. For example, a mother and daughter may both develop hyperthyroidism. Other common causes include autoimmune disease, nodules on the thyroid gland, overmedication (going from hypothyroidism to hyperthyroidism) and an abrupt increase in iodine intake.
How to Recognize Hyperthyroidism?
Since hyperthyroidism causes the body’s functions to speed up, the symptoms may be different or even the opposite of those seen in hypothyroidism, such as:
- Weight loss
- Increased sweating
- Light and infrequent periods
- Nail thickening
- Bulging eyes
- Feeling unusually warm
On the other hand, some symptoms will be the same as those seen in patients with hypothyroidism:
- Hair loss
- Muscle pain and weakness
Hyperthyroidism is usually treated with medication like Thiamazole, which blocks the overproduction of the T3 and T4 hormones. Many patients also take radioactive iodin which destroys thyroid cells, and as a result, fewer cells produce fewer hormones. These treatments can help maintain proper levels of thyroid hormones and keep the disease in remission, but they don’t guarantee a cure.
The only permanent cure of hyperthyroidism entails surgical removal of the thyroid gland. However, if you decide to undergo surgery, you’ll be forced to take replacement hormones for the rest of your life. You may also develop hypothyroidism because your body will no longer be able to produce any thyroid hormones whatsoever.
How to Diagnose Thyroid Disease
Contact the wellness experts at Optimum Health Rehab if you suspect issues with your thyroid. We can help diagnose thyroid disease by testing the levels of thyroid hormones in your blood and analyzing your symptoms. The test will measure three types of hormones—T3, T4 and TSH, the latter of which stands for thyroid stimulating hormone, a hormone that stimulates the thyroid gland to produce T3 and T4.
We will strive to develop a treatment plan that allows you to avoid invasive surgeries or severe body-chemistry altering medications.
Treat Your Thyroid Issue at One of Our Georgia Optimum Health Clinics
Our team will take the time to test and diagnose your thyroid disorder. Apart from medical treatments, we’ll help your body regain balance by recommending natural remedies, such as a modified diet, healthy supplements and an exercise plan.Hormone Imbalances