Understanding Underactive and Overactive Thyroid Disorders


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The thyroid gland is a part of the endocrine system which is prominently described as a butterfly-shaped organ found on the base of the neck. The thyroid gland releases hormones responsible to your metabolism control or the way the body uses energy. These hormones are released into the bloodstream and reach the body’s cells.

In the same way, these hormones supervise indispensable body functions such as heart rate, breathing, menstrual cycles, central and peripheral nervous system, body temperature and a more.

Due to its essential function, it would significantly cripple bodily functions if it becomes dysfunctional. Two conditions significantly affect the thyroid, and each has distinct symptoms.

What is Underactive Thyroid Disorder?

Underactive thyroid disorder which is more known as Hypothyroidism is the condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland produces two main hormones called Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4). It is crucial that T3 and T4 neither gets too high or too low in level. Therefore, if the thyroid hormone levels are low, your heart rate, for instance, may become slower than usual.

Other symptoms that would indicate underactive thyroid disorder would be difficulty in sleeping. Depression, dry skin and hair, difficulty in concentrating, sensitivity to cold, as well as joint and muscle pains among others. People with Hypothyroidism are likely to experience fatigue and tirelessness. The disorder slows down the body’s functions and can also affect your weight and waistline. If you are experiencing the said symptoms, ask your physician to be tested for an underactive thyroid.

The most common cause of hypothyroidism is the Hashimoto’s disease.

It is an autoimmune disease wherein your antibodies attack your body. Antibodies are blood protein that is supposed to attack foreign invaders in your bodies such as bacteria, viruses, or chemicals. In hypothyroidism, antibodies destroy the thyroid cells, and this, therefore, prevents the production of the thyroid hormones.

This disorder can be treated by taking prescribed hormone tablets to make up with the hormones that the thyroid gland is not producing. In this case, thyroid drug coupons can also be of help to your medication.

What is Overactive Thyroid Disorder?

Overactive Thyroid, on the other hand, is the opposite of Underactive Thyroid Disorder. It is commonly known as Hyperthyroidism, a condition where the thyroid is overactive and produces more thyroid hormones than what your body would typically need. Studies would tell that this condition commonly affects more women than men.

People who have Overactive Thyroid Disorder experience rapid metabolism, forgetfulness, elevated heart rate, palpitations, sweating. Menstrual problems, anxiety, irritability, nervousness, fatigue, and difficulty in sleeping. Weight loss is also associated with hyperthyroidism.

There are several causes of Overactive Thyroid Disorder. This includes nodular thyroid disease, thyroiditis or the inflammation of the thyroid gland, and Graves’ disease. The most common of these causes is the Grave’s disease with obvious physical symptoms such as Goiter. Similar to Underactive Thyroid Disorder, people who are suffering from Overactive Thyroid Disorder have an autoimmune disorder.

In Graves’ disease, the antibodies that cause the thyroid to grow and produce more thyroid hormone than normal amount are called Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobulins (TSIs). The TSIs would then imitate the regulation activity in the pituitary gland which is to release Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) chemicals that signals the creation of Thyroid hormones. This trick then results in more production of thyroid hormone which leads to Hyperthyroidism or Overactive Thyroid Disorder.

Who are at Risk for Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism?

Both Thyroid diseases affect women over 60 more often than men. The risk factors for hyperthyroidism include a family history of Graves’ disease and a personal account of chronic illnesses such as primary adrenal insufficiency, type 1 diabetes, and pernicious anemia.

In the case of Hypothyroidism, while it often affects middle-aged or older women, it could also develop among infants. Hyperthyroidism in infants have symptoms of yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes which is referred to as Jaundice. Infants are likely to have a puffy appearance to the face or a large protruding tongue.

As the disease progresses, infants will have trouble in growing and developing normally. They may also experience constipation, poor muscle tone or excessive sleepiness. This condition could also potentially lead to severe physical and intellectual disabilities when not treated early.

In the same way, children or teens affected by hypothyroidism would suffer the same symptoms as adults do and may also experience delayed puberty, weak growth, delayed development of permanent teeth and poor mental development.

How can these be Treated?

If you notice symptoms similar to that of Underactive and Overactive Thyroids, then it is best to consult with your doctor ahead. While it is not right to assume immediately that your symptoms are thyroid disorders, the only way to find out with full accuracy is to have a thyroid function test where sample blood will be examined to measure your hormone levels.

Drugs and surgery are the usual ways to adjust hormone levels. But there are also other treatments such as diet supplements and individual exercises. Medications and Supplements can come in prices, but there are ways to get thyroid drug coupons if not, herbal remedies are also available.

Health niche team
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