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Hypothyroidism vs Hyperthyroidism Explained

Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are both thyroid disorders that can have a drastic impact on a person's health. Thyroid conditions are prevalent, with over 12 percent of the U.S. population having an issue with their thyroid gland. Understanding the differences between the two is important for people who may be at risk of developing these conditions. This article provides an overview of hypothyroidism vs hyperthyroidism, including its causes, symptoms, diagnoses, and treatments. It is important to note that early detection of either condition is vital in order to ensure effective treatment.

What is the thyroid?

The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck, just below the center of your throat. As part of the endocrine system, it forms part of an intricate network of glands. The endocrine system coordinates a large number of our body's functions. Hormones produced by the thyroid gland control metabolism.

The term thyroid disease refers to a condition that affects the thyroid's ability to produce the right amounts of hormones. Hormones produced by the thyroid keep our body functioning normally.

Thyroid disorders can affect anyone — men, women, infants, teenagers, and the elderly. The disease can range from a small, harmless goiter (enlarged gland) to a life-threatening form of cancer.

Who are at risk of developing thyroid disease?

Old woman checking her throat

2 Main types of thyroid disease

Thyroid problems are most commonly caused by abnormal thyroid hormone production. These two conditions may be triggered by other disorders that affect thyroid function.
Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism, also known as the underactive thyroid, occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones to meet the body's needs. Hypothyroidism affects about 5 percent of Americans aged 12 and older, most of whom have mild or no symptoms.

Causes of Hypothyroidism

  1. Hashimoto’s disease - is the most common cause of hypothyroidism
  2. Thyroiditis - inflammation of the thyroid
  3. Radioactive iodine treatment
  4. In-born or congenital hypothyroidism
  5. Full or partial surgical removal of the thyroid
  6. Iodine deficiency
  7. Some medications

Symptoms

The most common signs are as follows:
  1. Fatigue
  2. Weight gain
  3. Depression
  4. Constipation
  5. Trouble tolerating cold
  6. Heavy or irregular menstrual periods | Fertility problems
  7. Decreased sweating
  8. Slowed heart rate
  9. Elevated blood cholesterol
  10. Dry skin
  11. Dry, thinning hair
  12. Impaired memory
  13. Muscle weakness | Muscle stiffness, aches, and tenderness
  14. Pain and stiffness in your joints

Hypothyroidism Diagnosis

  1. Physical exam
  2. Medical and family history
  3. TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) test
  4. T4 test
  5. T3 test
  6. Thyroid antibody tests

Treatment options for hypothyroidism

Supplementing thyroid hormones is the primary treatment for hypothyroidism.
  1. BIOIDENTICAL THYROID REPLACEMENT THERAPY (BHRT) - For patients with thyroid gland disorders, BHRT helps maintain thyroid hormone levels.
  2. IODINE SUPPLEMENTS - Iodine is essential for the thyroid to function correctly.
  3. PREVENTION - People with a high risk of thyroid problems may be tested for the early signs of the condition.
  4. SPECIAL DIET RECOMMENDATIONS - For people with hypothyroidism, there are many healthy food choices, such as eggs, meat, fish, fruits and vegetables, gluten-free grains and seeds, all dairy products, and non-caffeinated beverages.
  5. SUPPLEMENTS - People with hypothyroidism may benefit most from iodine, selenium, and zinc supplements. You should, however, avoid iodine and selenium supplements unless your healthcare provider recommends them.
  6. LIFESTYLE CHANGES - Dr. Truc Nguyen, MD, IFMCP of Conscious Medicine, GA, recommends changing one’s lifestyle. “Go engage in exercise, get enough sleep, reduce daily stress, do deep breathing exercises, nurture personal relations, and practice self-care.”
Old man feeling his throat

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism occurs when an overactive thyroid gland produces more thyroid hormones than the body needs. It can increase metabolism and causes unintended weight loss, irregular heartbeat, anxiety, and sweating.

Causes of Hyperthyroidism

  1. Graves’ disease
  2. Overactive thyroid nodules
  3. Inflammation of the thyroid gland called Thyroiditis
  4. Overconsumption of iodine which is found in some medication
  5. Too much thyroid hormone medicine
  6. A noncancerous tumor of the pituitary gland
  7. A large amount of T4 is in the blood.
  8. Tumors: Benign and cancerous tumors can cause the thyroid gland to produce too much hormone in the thyroid gland.
  9. Pituitary gland disorders: The pituitary gland regulates the thyroid gland. If it is not functioning correctly, it can cause the thyroid gland to produce too much hormone.

Symptoms

Symptoms may differ from one person to the other but may include the following:
  1. Experiencing anxiety, irritability, and nervousness
  2. Hyperactivity - having a lot of nervous energy
  3. Rapid or irregular heart rate (arrhythmia) | Heart palpitations
  4. Heat intolerance or sweating
  5. Shaking of the hands, weakness of the muscle | Tremors
  6. Mood swings
  7. Having trouble sleeping | Insomnia
  8. Weight loss
  9. Increased appetite
  10. Frequent bowel movements | Diarrhea
  11. Persistent thirst
  12. Having an enlarged thyroid gland or a goiter

Hyperthyroidism Diagnosis

  1. Testing the T4, free T4, and T3 levels
  2. Testing the Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)
  3. Thyroid scan
  4. Thyroid ultrasound
  5. CT or MRI scans

Treatment options for hyperthyroidism

The following methods can treat hyperthyroidism:
  1. MEDICATION - Medication that inhibits thyroid hormone production or anti-thyroid medication
  2. RADIOACTIVE IODINE - Usually taken orally as a tablet or in liquid form, which effectively destroys the cells that produce the thyroid hormones without harming the other tissues of the body
  3. SURGERY or THYROIDECTOMY - the procedure of removing the whole or partial thyroid gland
  4. HYPERTHYROIDISM DIET - Certain foods can keep your thyroid healthy and reduce some of its harmful effects. A balanced thyroid function requires minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients. Usually, a low-iodine diet is prescribed before radiation therapy.
Some great additions to help you treat hypothyroidism:

DFH Thyroid Synergy - A unique formula offers nutritional support for healthy thyroid function and hormone balance.

Thyroid Support Complex - A comprehensive thyroid support formula that contains vitamins, minerals, and herbal extracts to nourish and support healthy thyroid cell metabolism and thyroid hormone function.

*Please check with your healthcare provider before taking these.
Cramps

What are the similarities between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism?

The similarities are as follows:                                                                                                                  
  1. Both conditions impact the thyroid gland and its hormones
  2. Both can result from autoimmune diseases or hormonal imbalances                                          
  3. Both can be treated with medication, lifestyle changes, or surgery

What is the difference between hypothyroidism from hyperthyroidism?

Hormone levels are the most common difference between the two diseases. The production of hormones decreases with hypothyroidism, while it increases with hyperthyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can be distinguished by how active or inactive the thyroid gland is. Hyperthyroidism is triggered by Graves' disease, while Hashimoto's disease provokes hypothyroidism.

The two thyroid disorders may both be caused by autoimmune diseases.

What are the chances of going from hypothyroidism to hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism can be converted to hypothyroidism, but hypothyroidism to hyperthyroidism is uncommon. We are now seeing more frequent conversions from hypothyroidism to hyperthyroidism in clinical practice.

Hypothyroidism vs hyperthyroidism, which is worse?

Neither is better, and both can result in death in the most severe cases. Hypothyroidism, on the other hand, is five times more common than hyperthyroidism.

Hypothyroidism can cause heart disease and myxedema coma in severe cases, both of which can be fatal.

Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are both severe medical conditions. Knowing the difference between the two is crucial to getting the right treatment. If you think you may have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, you may book a consultation with our functional medicine doctor.

A Final Thought: Take Charge of Your Thyroid Health

Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are two different conditions that can greatly impact the function of the thyroid gland. It is important to understand the differences between these two conditions in order to receive an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

With proper medical attention, both conditions can be managed effectively. We hope that this blog has provided a comprehensive overview of hypothyroidism vs hyperthyroidism, and has emphasized the importance of seeking medical attention for thyroid disorders. If you experience any symptoms of thyroid disorder, it is important to seek medical advice as soon as possible.
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Functional medicine is an approach to healthcare that focuses on identifying and addressing the root causes of disease. Unlike traditional medicine, which often treats symptoms without addressing underlying problems, functional medicine seeks to understand the body and identify imbalances contributing to illness. Functional medicine practitioners use various tools, including nutrition, lifestyle changes, and supplements, to help their patients achieve optimum health. The root cause is a term used in healthcare to refer to the underlying cause of a disease or condition. A root cause may be genetic, environmental, or lifestyle-related. Identifying and addressing root causes is a key component of functional medicine.

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We see a variety of individuals looking to upgrade their health and well-being. Our patients vary from complex health issues to the average person who doesn’t feel right. We help patients with chronic diseases such as autoimmune disease, heart disease, fatigue, insomnia, diabetes, arthritis, high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, anxiety, depression, brain fog, mood disorders, and more. Dr. Truc assists patients in getting off medication safely and healthily that is best suited for the individual.
Our advanced diagnostic testing, combined with Dr. Truc’s Functional Integrative approach, reveals the root cause of these issues.We see a variety of individuals looking to upgrade their health and well-being. Our patients vary from complex health issues to the average person who doesn’t feel right. We help patients with chronic diseases such as autoimmune disease, heart disease, fatigue, insomnia, diabetes, arthritis, high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, anxiety, depression, brain fog, mood disorders, and more. Dr. Truc assists patients in getting off medication safely and healthily that is best suited for the individual.
Our advanced diagnostic testing, combined with Dr. Truc’s Functional Integrative approach, reveals the root cause of these issues.

What can I expect in a wellness consultation?

We see a variety of individuals looking to upgrade their health and well-being. Our patients vary from complex health issues to the average person who doesn’t feel right. We help patients with chronic diseases such as autoimmune disease, heart disease, fatigue, insomnia, diabetes, arthritis, high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, anxiety, depression, brain fog, mood disorders, and more. Dr. Truc assists patients in getting off medication safely and healthily that is best suited for the individual.
Our advanced diagnostic testing, combined with Dr. Truc’s Functional Integrative approach, reveals the root cause of these issues.

I’m not sick. Should I still schedule a consultation?

Prevention is the best medicine, especially when it comes to your health. Most people believe that illness occurs in the body when you get older; this is not true. By taking steps to prevent disease and injury today, you can stay healthy and avoid costly medical bills later on down the road. Unhealthy habits create chronic inflammation in the body, leading to later illness.

How do I schedule an appointment?

Dr. Truc offers a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation to answer any patient's questions or concerns regarding their health ailment and go over the services provided at Conscious Medicine. We look forward to connecting with you and scheduling a call today

Do you accept insurance?

We do not accept insurance. You can pay by credit card, debit card, HSA/FSA debit card, or care credit. You are welcome to submit the superbill for possible reimbursement from your insurance company. This document itemizes the services rendered and provides the insurance company with the information they need to process your claim. Many of our patients get up to 70% reimbursed.
We do not take any part in submitting claims or calling insurance companies, which is 100% the patient’s responsibility. We do not bill or participate in Medicare for any of our services.

Why don’t you accept insurance?

Unfortunately, insurance companies often dictate patients' care, limiting the effectiveness of treatments and time spent with our patients. Reimbursement rates are often too low to cover quality care costs. The administrative burden of dealing with insurance companies can be significant, which takes away from time that could be spent providing care to patients. We believe in providing the best possible care to our patients by spending as much time as necessary with each patient with personalized treatment plans to ensure their needs are met.

Are lab tests covered by insurance?

Lab tests are not covered by insurance. Many insurance plans, especially those provided by employers, only cover tests that are considered "medically necessary." You are welcome to check with your insurance supplier to see if they will reimburse you for out-of-network labs.
Lab tests are necessary because they can help diagnose many conditions, from uncomplicated infections to more severe diseases. They can also tell us how well your organs work and help us monitor your overall health.

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Our most commonly recommended lab test for stress management is a non-invasive test done in the comfort of your home with ease.

Some labs may require bloodwork which we offer at our Conscious Medicine office. If the distance is an issue for lab testing, we are happy to assist you in finding a facility closer to where you live. At Lab Corp, you can schedule an appointment directly with their facility.

*To follow CDC sanitation and safety protocols, we only accept one patient at a time in our office, wear proper PPE, and disinfect them.*

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Yes! All of our consultations are done virtually by phone or internet via Zoom Calls.

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