Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism are the most common thyroid disorders. Besides, Thyroiditis (inflammation of thyroid gland), Goiter, Grave’s Disease, Benign Thyroid Disease, and Thyroid Cancer are some other types of thyroid disease.
Hypothyroidism is characterized by underactive thyroid gland leading to the insufficient thyroid hormone production.
The condition may be caused by iodine deficiency, defects such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, radioactive destruction or surgical removal of thyroid tissue, intake of certain medications like lithium (used in the treatment of bipolar disorder), presence of antibodies causing decreased production of thyroid hormone, and congenital factors.
Hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, is characterized by overactive thyroid gland resulting in excessive production of thyroid hormones. It is often associated with an autoimmune disorder called Grave’s disease.
At times, the condition may be caused by abnormal secretion of TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), excessive iodine intake, Thyroiditis, toxic multinodular goiter, and functioning adenoma.
Stress is also believed to affect thyroid function. The thyroid gland is responsible for releasing hormones that control metabolism.
Thus, it is imperative to diagnose and treat thyroid disorders effectively. Women are usually more susceptible to thyroid problems than men.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
- • Increased sensitivity to cold
- • Fatigue
- • Dry, coarse skin
- • Constipation
- • Sluggishness
- • Poor appetite
- • Low heart rate
- • Weight gain
- • Increased cholesterol
- • Decreased sweating
- • Stiffness in joints and muscles
- • Poor muscle tone
- • Muscle cramps
- • Carpal tunnel syndrome
- • Menstrual irregularities/abnormally heavy or light menstrual bleeding
- • Infertility
- • Brittle hair and nails
- • Mental fogginess/inattentiveness
- • Depression
When left untreated for a long time, the symptoms may cause progress to problems like facial swelling, goiter, hoarseness in voice, thickening of skin, numbness in fingers, low basal body temperature, thinning of the outer layer of the eyebrows, decreased sense of smell and taste, impaired memory, and mood instability.
In case a newborn is not treated in time then the condition may eventually lead to mental retardation.
Infants suffering from hypothyroidism may show signs and symptoms like hoarse cry, noisy breathing, constipation, yellowing of skin (jaundice), umbilical hernia, protruding tongue, slow bone growth, delayed tooth development, and so on.
Teenagers with this disease are likely to have slow speech, droopy eyelids, slow pulse, puffy face, etc.
Here’s a video giving information on symptoms of thyroid disease leading to slowed metabolism.
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
- • Accelerated or pounding heartbeat
- • Increase in appetite
- • Heat intolerance
- • Weight loss
- • Fatigue
- • Frequent bowel movements
- • Excessive sweating
- • Increased urination
- • Eye irritation or discomfort
- • Hyperglycemia due to increase in body’s metabolic demand
- • Menstrual irregularities/scant menstrual flow
- • Nervousness/anxiety/irritability
- • Muscular weakness
- • Hand tremors
- • Clammy skin
If not treated in time, it may further cause enlarged thyroid gland, high blood pressure, rapid and irregular pulse, heart rhythm disorders, difficulty sleeping, loss of hair, skin blushing, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, lack of menstruation in women, and breast development in men. In rare cases, it may cause a life-threatening condition, thyroid storm.
As the early symptoms of these thyroid conditions tend to be non-specific, it may seem to be asymptomatic. In additions, the symptoms may not be the same for everyone.
Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are mostly treated by taking thyroid hormone supplements. Factors like proper diet, healthy lifestyle, and adequate sleep also contribute in curing thyroid disorders.