The thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front and at the base of your neck, acts as the control centre for your body. Hormones secreted by the thyroid help maintain the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs, and help the body to use energy properly.
So when something goes awry that leads to overactive thyroid or underactive thyroid, your metabolism either revs up too high or slows way down, respectively. These two conditions — hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism — affect the thyroid in different ways and therefore have distinct symptoms.
The major difference between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism is the thyroid’s hormone output.
In simple terms, with hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone for the body’s needs. With hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid, the thyroid makes too much
The most common cause of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s disease, a condition where the immune system makes antibodies that destroy thyroid cells and stop them from making the thyroid hormone.
The most common form of hyperthyroidism is a condition called Graves’ disease.
Some people with Graves’ disease have swelling in the front of their neck from an enlarged thyroid gland, called a goitre, as well as eyes that appear enlarged because of inflammation.
With hypothyroidism, your whole metabolism slows down — the heart rate is slower than normal, the intestinal tract becomes sluggish, and there is less heat production.
As a result of an underactive thyroid you may experience:
Decreased menstrual flow
Swelling in the front of the neck (goitre)
The weight gain that often accompanies hypothyroidism is a funny thing. If a person with an underactive thyroid can force him- or herself to maintain a normal activity level, he or she may only gain a few pounds,” he says. “But some people with hypothyroidism feel so tired they stop exercising, sleep more, and change their routine, which causes more weight gain.
In contrast, with an overactive thyroid, all body functions tend to speed up. Think of it as a racing car engine. People with hyperthyroidism will have symptoms of a fast metabolism.
As a result of an overactive thyroid you may experience:
Problems falling asleep
Racing thoughts - Difficulty focusing on one task
Change in bowel habits, where bowels are looser
Elevated heart rate and palpitations
Anxiety, nervousness, or irritability
It’s important to note that weight loss associated with overactive thyroid is not happy weight loss. It is associated with muscle weakness and constant fatigue, so it isn’t something you want
Diagnosing Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism
The first step in both hypo- and hyperthyroidism diagnoses is a simple blood test. Your doctor will likely ask you to fast for the test for the most accurate result. This means you can’t eat any food after midnight.
A blood test will measure three types of hormones. The first is called the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which is released by the pituitary gland in the brain.
A high TSH result, in this instance, means your pituitary gland is in overdrive, likely trying to compensate for an underactive thyroid gland. (The pituitary gland can kick into overdrive because of other factors, though, independent of the thyroid gland).
A low result means you’re getting an abnormal amount of thyroid hormones in the blood and may indicate hyperthyroidism.
The two other hormones your doctor may check include free-thyroxine (T4) and total triiodothyronine (T3). Your doctor may also check Free-T4 levels, which is the measurement of T4 before it’s stored in various tissues throughout the body. Low levels of any of these hormones indicate hypothyroidism, while high levels point to hyperthyroidism.
How we treat Thyroid Issues via Ayurveda, Naturopathy & Yoga
We have several therapies like Shirodhara, Udvartanam, Nasyam, Pranayam, Enema etc, which is very effective in activating and controlling thyroid. As per your latest thyroid report and your ongoing medication - we can specifically design a thyroid treatment for you. Some of the treatment, you can even practice at home. We have had several cases where we successfully reduced the thyroid medication of our clients and even helped them gain weight as well as lose thyroid weight in a healthy manner.
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