Thyroid Imbalance: Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism

Sometimes, the ability of the thyroid gland to produce hormones can be affected by several factors or thyroid conditions, leading to abnormally low thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) or excessive thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism). Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can be detrimental to health and can significantly affect one’s quality of life because they increase the affected individual’s risk of developing heart disease, bone disorders, skin and hair problems, bleeding issues, sexual and reproductive concerns, and other debilitating medical conditions.
In general, people with hypothyroidism can experience the following signs and symptoms:

  • Abnormal menstrual cycles
  • Cold intolerance
  • Constipation
  • Dry or brittle hair leading to hair loss
  • Dry, pale skin
  • Extreme fatigue even in non-tiring activities
  • Higher cholesterol levels
  • Irritability, depression and low mood
  • Low libido
  • Memory problems
  • Muscle cramps and frequent muscle pains
  • Slower heart rate (bradycardia)
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight

On the other hand, excessive levels of thyroid hormone cause hyperthyroidism. This thyroid condition significantly increases metabolism leading to the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Bone problems
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Goiter
  • Hair loss
  • Heart palpitations
  • Heat intolerance
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased sweating
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nervousness and irritability
  • Protruding, itchy eyes
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Tremors
  • Weight loss

Causes of Thyroid Problems
Problems with the thyroid gland can be caused by several conditions. For hyperthyroidism, common causes are:

  • Autoimmune diseases such as Graves’ disease.
  • Inflammation of the thyroid caused by a virus or bacteria.
  • Pituitary gland malfunctions
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Thyroid gland nodules, or non-cancerous lumps

On the other hand, hypothyroidism can be caused by the following:

  • Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
  • Certain medical treatments such as radiation therapy and thyroid surgery.
  • Certain medications such as cold and sinus medicines, amiodarone and lithium.
  • Exposure to excessive amounts of iodide (e.g. certain contrast dyes given before some X-rays)
before after

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- Nick Cassavetes, 60 yrs old

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