Thyroid glands are small glands shaped like a butterfly in the middle parts of the lower neck. The essential function of thyroid id to control the metabolism of the body that is the rate at which the cells in the body perform the essential workings. T4 and T3 are the hormones produced by the thyroid that informs the body cells about how much energy they need to use. The thyroid needs to maintain the right amount of hormones to ensure the body’s metabolism at satisfactory rates.
There are two possible thyroid diseases. The two diseases depend on the number of hormones produced. When the thyroid glands produce more hormones than required, the body uses faster energy than it should be using. This thyroid disease is called Hyperthyroidism. When the thyroid glands fail to produce the required hormones, the body uses energy slower than the normal rate. This thyroid disease condition is called hypothyroidism.
The symptoms, causes, and treatment for both types of diseases are different. In this article, we discuss hypo and hyperthyroidism in detail with their causes, treatment, and symptoms.
The most common signs and symptoms of Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism are:
- Fatigue or weakness
- Slowed heart rate and elevated cholesterol levels
- Weakness in muscles
- Dry skin
- Feeling cold
- Pain in joints and muscle stiffness
- Impairment in memory
The only difference exists in the symptoms in a change in the weight of the person. Hypothyroidism leads to weight gain in the person suffering from the disease, whereas in the hyperthyroidism, the person suffers from a weight loss.
There are a number of causes that lead to hypothyroidism or hypothyroidism. The main causes of Hyperthyroidism include:
- Graves’s disease is the most common cause of Hyperthyroidism. It is an autoimmune disorder and stimulates the thyroid glands to produce too many hormones. It occurs more often in women and tends to have a genetic link. This is also referred to as Diffuse Toxic Goiter.
- Excess iodine found in a number of drugs, including cough syrups tends to cause the thyroid to produce an excess of hormones in case of some people. Iodine is a key ingredient of T3 and T4 thus, excess of it is harmful.
- Thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid) is a disorder that abruptly releases the hormones stored in the glands, T4 and T3 are leaked out of the gland leading to the disease. Thyroiditis may be painful or painless.
- Nodules become overactive while working with the glands. While a single nodule is called toxic autonomously functioning thyroid nodule, many other nodules are called toxic multi-nodular goiter.
- Tumors occurring in the ovaries or testes.
- Excess amounts of tetraiodothyronine that enters the body through medication or other dietary supplements.
These are the few of the main causes that lead to hyperthyroidism. The following are the causes of hypothyroidism in the human body:
The most common cause of occurrence of Hypothyroidism is iodine deficiency. Iodine being the primary ingredient for the production of hormones, iodine deficiency leads to improper functioning of the glands.
- Thyroiditis, the inflammation of the thyroid gland lowers the number of hormones produced by the glands, thus leading to hypothyroidism.
- Hashimoto’s Disease, This disease causes chronic thyroid inflammation. It is a hereditary disease.
- Postpartum Disease. This disease may occur in women after they give birth to their child.
- Improper functioning of the thyroid glands, This problem persists in newborns and if not corrected, leaves the child physically and mentally disabled.
DIAGNOSING THE TWO DISEASES
There are two ways that are primarily determined hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism:
The patient’s medical history is analyzed. All the symptoms that you have been seeing in your body are noted and examined. The symptom tracker helps the doctor in tracking how the symptoms have improved with a given period of time, thus depicting the progress in the patient’s body.
A thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test is conducted to measure the amount of TSH the glands are producing. In case one is suffering from hypothyroidism, the TSH levels are high, whereas, in the case of Hyperthyroidism, the TSH levels are low. This happens because when the TSH level is high, the body tries to stimulate thyroid hormone activity, and when the TSH levels are low, the body tries to stop excessive thyroid hormone production.
MANAGEMENT OF DISEASES
The two diseases can be treated to a large extent but need a lot of time to do the same. The methods to treat hyperthyroidism include:
Radioactive Iodine: Radioactive Iodine is taken by mouth and is absorbed by the thyroid glands, causing the glands to shrink. Anti-Thyroid Medications: thyroid Glands are prevented from producing excess hormones by using these medications. They reduce symptoms gradually and improve the condition within a few weeks.
Beta Blockers: These medications only ease the symptoms like rapid heart rate, tremor. These are advised by the doctors only to help you feel better, but these medications have many side effects as well.
Surgery: if one is unable to avoid anti-thyroid drugs and doesn’t want to indulge in radioactive iodine therapy, they can go for thyroid surgery.
The methods to treat Hypothyroidism are Oral Medication and Alternative Medication.
Alternative Medications include some natural extracts containing thyroid hormones also help in curing thyroid.
Apart from the above techniques, it is necessary to get regular exercise and learn to practice relaxation techniques. Exercise helps one feel better and improve your cardiovascular system, whereas relaxation techniques help in maintaining a positive outlook while dealing up with the disease.
Thus, hypo and hyperthyroidism being common diseases these days, it necessary that everyone has knowledge about the disease and knows how to respond to its occurrence while these diseases may not seem complex in general but need a lot of patience to deal with.
I hope this article helps you in understanding various aspects of Hypo and Hyperthyroidism.