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Everything You Need to Know About Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism

Thyroid gland is one of the most essential glands for the human body, located just below the Adam’s apple. It produces important hormones that regulate metabolism and overall health. Any dysfunction in the thyroid gland can lead to a number of health problems, including hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

What is hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism refers to a condition where the thyroid gland produces fewer hormones than required by the body. The most common cause of hypothyroidism is a condition called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, where the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland leading to inflammation and damage.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, weight gain, constipation, dry skin, hair loss, depression, and muscle weakness. Hypothyroidism is usually treated with synthetic thyroid hormones, which need to be taken daily.

What is hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, is a condition where the thyroid gland produces too many hormones, leading to an overactive metabolism. The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves’ disease, where the immune system stimulates the thyroid gland to produce more hormones than needed. Other causes include thyroid nodules and thyroiditis.

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include weight loss, increased appetite, sweating, anxiety, tremors, irritability, rapid heartbeat, and insomnia. Treatment options for hyperthyroidism include medications, radioiodine therapy, and surgery depending on the severity of the condition.

How to diagnose thyroid problems?

Diagnosing thyroid problems usually involves a blood test to check hormone levels. If a thyroid problem is suspected, a doctor may also perform a physical exam of the thyroid gland, and imaging tests like an ultrasound or CT scan. In some cases, a biopsy may be necessary to evaluate the thyroid gland.

The Bottom Line

Thyroid problems can impact overall health and wellbeing in a significant way if left untreated. Any changes in the body’s metabolism, including weight gain or weight loss, should warrant a visit to a healthcare provider. Physicians can determine the type and severity of thyroid dysfunction and recommend the most appropriate treatment option. Managing thyroid problems can lead to a better quality of life and overall wellbeing.


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