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Understanding Thyroid Disorders: Hypothyroidism vs. Hyperthyroidism

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ that releases the proper amount of thyroid hormone and controls heartbeat, metabolism, and brain function, among other bodily functions. 


You may have a thyroid disorder if you become overweight, lose weight suddenly, or experience fatigue. However, thyroid disorders are two types-

  • Hypothyroidism 
  • Hyperthyroidism 


The differences between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are shown below to help you determine which one you are currently dealing with. 

Without much further ado, let’s get right into the differences!

Do you want to understand more about thyroid disorders: hypothyroidism vs hyperthyroidism? Don't look up things here and there; let me clear up your confusion! 

An Overview of Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism


Let’s start with what hypothyroidism is. 


Hypothyroidism is an essentially under-active thyroid gland that produces less hormone. This hormonal imbalance slows your body’s metabolism, causing you to gain weight. It has no cure other than to keep the attack from doing too much damage. 


There are three types of hypothyroidism, such as-


  • Primary hypothyroidism simulates your thyroid properly but can’t produce enough thyroid hormones for your body to function properly. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Iodine deficiency, and thyroidectomy are most common in this segment.


  • Secondary hypothyroidism occurs when there is a problem with the pituitary gland (a tiny gland near the brain’s base that helps in thyroid-stimulating hormone production). Less hormone is produced if the pituitary gland cannot produce enough TSH. 


  • Hypothalamus dysfunction (a brain region responsible for controlling pituitary hormone production) is the cause of tertiary hypothyroidism. The thyroid gland production of thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) is decreased when the hypothalamus cannot produce it. Trauma, tumors, and other brain conditions are commonly seen in this problem. 


This imbalance is more common in women than men. However, there are several thyroid treatment to control this hormonal imbalance.


Now discuss what hyperthyroidism is.


Conversely, Hyperthyroidism indicates an overactive thyroid gland that produces excessive thyroid hormone, especially thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). This hormone aids in precisely controlling how your body uses its metabolism.


There are three ways in which this hormonal imbalance occurs:

  • Thyroiditis is a thyroid gland inflammation caused by infection, radiation exposure, or autoimmune diseases. It occurs when your thyroiditis becomes irritated and allows excessive amounts of thyroid hormone to enter your bloodstream.


  • A thyroid nodule is basically a lump in the thyroid gland that can be both cancerous and noncancerous.


  • Autoimmune disorders attack the thyroid gland, leading to excessive hormone production. Graves’sGraves’s disease is the most common autoimmune thyroid disorder.


When hormones overproduce, it raises body temperature, heart rate, appetite, anxiety, and—most importantly—decreases abrupt weight loss. 


When it is in a minor state, treatment options include medication, radioactive iodine, and surgery. If untreated, it can result in an irregular heartbeat and bone loss. 


Recognizing Symptoms and Signs of Hypothyroidism vs. Hyperthyroidism


Below, we’ve shown you the hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism symptoms and signs-


Hypothyroidism’s symptoms and signs


  1. Fatigue and weakness: Feeling tired and weak even with adequate rest and sleep.
  2. Weight gain: Unintended weight gain or difficulty losing weight, despite maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine.
  3. Cold intolerance: Feeling excessively cold or having an intolerance to cold temperatures.
  4. Constipation: difficulty passing stools regularly.
  5. Dry skin and hair: Skin may become dry, rough, and itchy, and hair may become brittle and thin.
  6. Muscle aches and stiffness: Experiencing muscle pain and stiffness, especially in the arms and legs.
  7. Depression and constant mood changes: Feeling down, sad, or experiencing mood swings.
  8. Elevated cholesterol levels: High levels of cholesterol in the blood.
  9. Menstrual irregularities: Changes in menstrual cycles, including heavy or irregular periods.
  10. Swelling: Puffiness in the face, hands, or feet.


Hyperthyroidism symptoms and signs 


  1. Weight loss: Unintended weight loss, even with increased appetite and food intake.
  2. Rapid heartbeat: An unusually fast heart rate and palpitations.
  3. Nervousness and anxiety: Feeling anxious, irritable, or jittery.
  4. Tremors: Shaking or trembling hands.
  5. Heat intolerance: Feeling excessively hot or having an intolerance to warm temperatures.
  6. Increased sweating: Experiencing excessive sweating, even without physical activity or hot weather.
  7. Fatigue: Feeling tired or weak, despite having difficulty sleeping.
  8. Thin, brittle hair: Hair may become thin, fine, and prone to breakage.
  9. Frequent bowel movements: Experiencing diarrhea or more frequent bowel movements.
  10. Changes in menstrual patterns: Irregular or lighter periods.


If you think you might have signs of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism or are experiencing worrisome symptoms, it’s it’s crucial to see a doctor for a proper checkup and diagnosis. Thyroid issues can be effectively managed with the right medical guidance and treatment.


5 Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism Prevention Tips for Health Maintenance


Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and awareness of potential risk factors is key to preventing thyroid disorders, including hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. 


Although total prevention of these conditions may not always be feasible, the following five tips for maintaining thyroid health and lowering the chance of developing thyroid disorders:


Eat a Balanced Diet


Incorporate several nutrient-rich foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and a few healthy fats, into your diet plan. Iodine is essential for thyroid hormone production. Do not forget to include iodine-rich foods like fish, seaweed, and iodized salt in moderation. 


You might need to take supplements if you do not get enough iodine. Avoid consuming goitrogens (found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage), which can interfere with thyroid function when consumed in large quantities. It is generally safe to consume moderately.


Manage Stress


Stress impacts thyroid function and hormone balance. Practice stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, or spending time in nature. 

Looking for paths to manage stress that can positively impact overall health and thyroid function. Otherwise, it negatively impacts your health.


Stop Smoking and Drink Moderately 


The toxins in cigarette smoke most severely disrupt your thyroid hormone. Thyroxine (T4) levels are raised, and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels are marginally lowered. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) aids in the synthesis of thyroid hormones.


Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Grave’s disease are the most commonly seen diseases caused by smoking. Making sure to quit smoking and drinking alcohol in moderation, or eliminating them altogether can benefit thyroid health.


Regular Exercise


Consistent physical activity improves mood, metabolism, and general health. Regular exercise can also help thyroid function by balancing hormones and decreasing inflammation.


Routine Thyroid Checkups


Visit your healthcare provider regularly for routine health checks, including thyroid function tests. Early detection of thyroid disorders allows for timely intervention and treatment, if necessary. 

Some thyroid disorders, particularly autoimmune conditions, may have a genetic component, and you may be at a higher risk if thyroid disorders run in your family. In these situations, It is a must to be watchful and adhere to your physician’s advice regarding management and observation.




Hope you now have a better understanding of the thyroid disorders hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. 

Once you determine which one you have, it may be simpler for you to decide which course of action to take to manage this disorder and clearly understand the doctor’s advice.

Stay safe and stay healthy!


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TWL Working Mom

Jennifer is the owner of TWL Working Moms. She is a full time teacher, a mom & step mom, and NBCT Facilitator. Jennifer lives in Washington State and is a born + raised New Yorker. In her spare time, she loves traveling, yoga, the beach, writing, listening to books and drinking coffee.

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