There are basically two kinds of thyroid disorders: hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid underproduces certain hormones, while hyperthyroidism occurs when you produce too many hormones. Each disorder can share symptoms with other illnesses and conditions, which can make thyroid problems difficult to recognize and diagnose.
The thyroid services specialists at Regenerative Health & Wellness Medical Center have helped many patients get their thyroid conditions under control. The key in doing so is in balancing medical treatment and lifestyle.
The function of the thyroid
Though the thyroid is a small gland at the base of your neck, it packs a big punch when it comes to the pace at which your body runs. Two hormones, named for the iodine atoms they contain ― T3 and T4 ― come from the thyroid. The thyroid releases T3 and T4 into the bloodstream to help control your body’s metabolism.
When things go wrong
Illness, damage, or side effects from medications can all upset the performance of your thyroid gland and the production of hormones. The symptoms you may experience will depend on whether you’re getting too little or too much of the thyroid hormones.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism
In the early stages of hypothyroidism, you may notice few, if any, changes. It could be years before you recognize symptoms resulting from thyroid underproduction. With hypothyroidism, your metabolism will slow down. Symptoms can include:
- Dry skin
- Elevated cholesterol
- Enlarged thyroid
- Hoarse feeling in your throat
- Changes to menstrual periods
- Sensitivity to the cold
- Weight gain
- Weakening muscles
- Joint pain
- Memory issues
- Slow heart rate
- Thinning hair
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism
With hyperthyroidism, there’s too much activity in your thyroid, and your metabolism speeds up. Some of the symptoms are the reverse of those experienced during hypothyroidism. For instance, instead of weight gain, hyperthyroidism could lead to weight loss. Other symptoms can include:
- Heart issues, including rapid heartbeat, irregular heartbeat, and palpitations
- Anxiety, irritability, and nervousness
- Increased sweating
- More frequent bowel movements
- Heat intolerance
- Hand and finger tremors
- Sleep disruptions
Some symptoms may be similar to those of hypothyroidism, such as changes to your menstrual cycle, enlarged thyroid, general fatigue, changes to your hair, and muscle weakness.
Diagnosing thyroid problems
Once thyroid issues are suspected, these can be pinpointed with a blood test for hormone levels. Other tests can confirm that your thyroid isn’t working normally, typically using a tracer substance in your body.
Once diagnosed, both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are usually simple to treat, though it may take some trial and error to get the right dosages of the medications you’ll take. In rare cases of hyperthyroidism, surgery may be performed to reduce hormone production.
If you suspect that you’re experiencing thyroid problems, book an appointment online or over the phone with Regenerative Health & Wellness Medical Center today.