The thyroid, a tiny, butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the front of your neck, has an enormous impact on your overall health. It affects the function of every organ in your body and if it is not working properly, it can send your body out of sync.
What is hypothyroidism?
In short, your thyroid gland can’t make enough hormones to function well. The thyroid gland controls every aspect of your body’s metabolism. In hypothyroidism, the gland’s hormone production slows. This, in turn, slows your metabolism, which can lead to weight gain.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism Include:
- Weight gain or difficulty in losing weight
- Dry skin
- Puffy face
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Decreased menstrual flow and change in menstrual cycle
- Hair loss
- Swelling in the neck (goiter)
What is Hyperthyroidism?
As its name suggests, hyperthyroidism occurs when your body makes too much of the thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), and becomes overactive. If you have hyperthyroidism, you may experience a fast heartbeat, increased appetite, anxiety, sensitivity to heat, or sudden weight loss.
Hyperthyroidism most commonly occurs in three ways:
- thyroiditis, or an inflammation of the thyroid
- a thyroid nodule that produces too much T4 hormone
- an autoimmune condition known as Graves’ disease
In hyperthyroidism, an irritation of your thyroid known as thyroiditis allows too much thyroid hormone to enter your blood. This can lead to pain and discomfort. Thyroiditis can also occur as the result of pregnancy. This is usually short-term.
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism Include:
- Increase in appetite
- Loss of weight
- Intolerance to heat
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Frequent bowel movements
- Protrusion of eye
- Sleep irregularities
- Enlarged gland
The Differences Between Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism
Hypothyroidism causes symptoms like slowed metabolism, tiredness, and weight gain. Having an underactive thyroid can decrease or slow down your bodily functions.
With hyperthyroidism, you may find yourself with more energy, as opposed to less. You may experience weight loss as opposed to weight gain. And you may feel anxious as opposed to depressed.
The most common difference between the two diseases relates to hormone levels. Hypothyroidism leads to a decrease in hormones. Hyperthyroidism leads to an increase in hormone production.
Ensure you follow the medications religiously, as the thyroid regulates numerous other glands of the body and can hamper their functioning too!