If you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, it simply means that your thyroid gland is underactive, for any number of reasons. In contrast to that, hyperthyroidism implies that you have an overactive thyroid.
But what does this mean for you?
In hypothyroidism, your underactive thyroid gland cannot make enough hormones to function properly. It is through the thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4) & triiodothyroinine (T3), that the thyroid gland controls every aspect of your metabolism. Decreased amounts of thyroxine in your body lead to slowing of metabolism.
Hypothyroidism can be treated by replacement therapy which improves your thyroid function by restoring hormone levels.
The most common cause for hypothyroidism is a condition known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis – it is an autoimmune condition (a disease where the body is attacked by its own immune system). Hashimoto’s thyroiditis has been known to run in families.
Here, the gland makes excessive amounts of the T3 and T4 hormones. This usually occurs due to one of 3 major ways:
Depending on the cause, medications, radioactive iodine or surgery can be the treatment options in hyperthyroidism.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism may include:
Hyperthyroidism usually presents with many symptoms diametrically opposite to those of hypothyroidism.
These may include
Older adults are more likely to have either no signs or symptoms or subtle ones, such as an increased heart rate, heat intolerance and a tendency to become tired during ordinary activities.