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HomeHealthHypothyroidism Vs. Hyperthyroidism: What's The Difference?

Hypothyroidism Vs. Hyperthyroidism: What’s The Difference?

The thyroid is your body’s control center. This gland, located at the base of your neck, is responsible for hyperthyroidism for the rate at which each organ and cell converts nutrients into energy. Moreover, it helps you metabolize proteins, fats, and carbohydrates and helps maintain your body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Thus, the thyroid plays an essential role in your growth and development.

So when your thyroid isn’t working well, your growth can be stunted. As a result, your body can experience two conditions: an overactive or underactive gland. Similarly, although the thyroid has both these conditions, they affect the body differently. So if you want to know the difference between the two, continue reading below:


An underactive thyroid gland or hypothyroidism means that your thyroid isn’t producing the right amount of hormones your body needs. In addition, you may experience constipation, fatigue, weight gain, dry skin, hair loss, decreased sweating, sensitivity to cold, slow heart rate, and forgetfulness.

An underactive thyroid means your hormone production slows down, your metabolism slows down, which makes you gain weight, feel more tired than usual, and become intolerant to cold temperatures. could do Additionally, a person with an underactive gland may feel so tired that they stop exercising, change their routine, and sleep more.

In contrast, hyperthyroidism means that your body’s processes and metabolism speed up. This condition means your heart may develop an irregular rhythm, you may have high blood pressure, frequent bowel movements, or even feel hot.

Hyperthyroidism symptoms include fatigue, feeling extra hot, diarrhea, weight loss, increased sweating, hair loss, thickened nails, palpitations, muscle weakness, and anxiety or nervousness. In addition, weight loss in hyperthyroidism is usually associated with persistent fatigue due to poor nutrient absorption.


Autoimmune diseases usually cause an underactive thyroid – one of which is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This autoimmune disorder is the most common cause in the United States. The condition involves inflammation of the thyroid gland, resulting in its gradual deterioration and an underactive thyroid.

Other underactive thyroid causes include hyperthyroidism treatment, thyroid surgery, and overreaction to medications. Treatment for people with hyperthyroidism often involves radioactive iodine medication. As such, correcting hyperthyroidism can often greatly reduce hormone production. Having a large part of your thyroid removed and taking lithium medication can also affect hormone production.

On the other hand, hyperthyroidism is usually caused by Graves’ disease. Classified as an autoimmune disease, Graves’ disease causes your body to see your thyroid as a foreign body and eventually attack it. In response, the thyroid gland enlarges and releases more hormones.

Additionally, abnormal growth of your thyroid gland can cause abnormal hormone secretion. Taking too much thyroid medication for an underactive thyroid gland can also lead to hyperthyroidism.


An underactive or overactive thyroid can lead to serious complications if left untreated. For an underactive thyroid, you may develop gout that feels like a large lump under your neck. Goiters are tender and swollen. In rare cases, they can cause complications during swallowing or breathing.

Another complication would be peripheral neuropathy or nerve damage. Also, severe and untreated underactive thyroids can cause fluid retention, which can lead to tissue swelling. Other complications of an underactive thyroid include pregnancy problems, muscle diseases, and high cholesterol.

Hyperthyroidism has complications like an underactive thyroid, goiter and pregnancy problems. However, pregnancies with hyperthyroidism may be at risk for neonatal hyperthyroidism. One such neonatal disease is Graves’ disease, which is transmitted from the mother to her child.

Additionally, hyperthyroidism can cause complications in your bones that can lead to osteoporosis – ultimately making you vulnerable to fractures. Atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm that can lead to stroke, is another complication of an overactive thyroid.

A thyroid storm may develop if there is a combination of untreated hyperthyroidism and infection, trauma, or surgery. This hypermetabolic state includes rapid heart rate, agitation, delirium, diarrhea, high fever, and even loss of consciousness.


You can’t cure an underactive thyroid, but you can manage it with medication. A synthetic thyroxine pill will be your primary treatment for a person with an underactive thyroid. This pill will build up natural thyroid hormones in your body, restoring the proper functioning of your body system.

Also, this pill is taken first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Your doctor should also choose your dose based on your weight and age. They should also be responsible for monitoring your thyroid-stimulating hormone levels to see if there are any changes.

With hyperthyroidism, treatment begins immediately with its symptoms. Here, your doctor may prescribe beta-blockers such as propranolol, atenolol, and nadolol to help with your symptoms. These medications can reduce tremors, slow heart rate, and improve irritability.

Other treatments for hyperthyroidism depend on the cause. For example, your doctor may prescribe anti-thyroid medication to block your hormone production. If you are pregnant, you may be prescribed propylthiouracil to reduce your thyroid hormone production. Doing so will reduce the risks to the fetus. Finally, if the medication doesn’t work, your options may be surgery or destroying the thyroid cells with radioactive iodine.

Final Thoughts

Having an underactive and overactive thyroid varies dramatically. A passive one means you’ll need to maintain medication throughout your life, while a more active one may work with medication or surgery. However, you should monitor thyroid disease with your doctor to keep your hormones at optimal levels. Additionally, making sure your thyroid gland is healthy and functioning effectively with the help of your healthcare provider should be your top priority.



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