Hyperthyroid and Hypothyroid Disorders
The thyroid gland, which is located in the front portion of your neck, affects almost all of your body’s metabolic processes. When abnormal hormone production occurs in the thyroid gland, these processes are thrown off significantly and can cause many undesirable symptoms. Hyperthyroidism is the overproduction of thyroid hormones by an overactive thyroid. Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, develops when the thyroid gland fails to produce or secrete as much thyroid hormone as the body needs.
There are many causes of hyperthyroidism. All of these disorders have the overproduction of thyroid hormones in common. For instance, Graves’ disease leads to an overactive thyroid and too much thyroid hormone in the body. Graves’ disease is the most common form of hyperthyroidism.
Subacute thyroiditis causes inflammation of the glands that “leak” an excess amount of hormones. Other forms of hyperthyroidism include toxic adenomas, cancerous growths in the thyroid gland, and pituitary gland malfunctions.
Hyperthyroidism Symptoms Checklist
- Irregular heart rate
- Weight loss and increased appetite
- Intolerance to warm weather
- Infrequent menstruation cycles
- Frequent bowel movements
- Emotional disturbances
- Enlargement in neck area
- Sleep disturbances
- Eye problems such as eye protrusion or eye irritation
An underproduction of thyroid hormones is called hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common form of hypothyroidism. This autoimmune disorder attacks the thyroid tissue causing the tissue to die. This results in decreased hormone production.
If the thyroid glands are removed due to hyperthyroidism disorders, hypothyroidism may occur unless the patient follows correct thyroid hormone replacement therapy. Other causes of decreased hormone production include ingestion of the drug lithium or ingestion of excessive amount of iodide.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
- Lack of appetite
- Weight gain
- Intolerance to cold weather
- Reduced heart rate
- Inability to think clearly
- Puffy face and swollen lips
In some cases, patients fluctuate between the symptoms of too much or too little hormone production. A qualified doctor will be able to devise a treatment plan that helps the patient to restore normal hormone production or to replace necessary hormones so that the body can function optimally.
If you have any questions about hyperthyroid or hypothyroid symptoms, you should speak to your local doctor, who will arrange to contact your thyroid surgeon.