Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are both thyroid conditions wherein the thyroid is either underactive or overactive, respectively. An easy way to remember which is which: HYPERthyroidism is overactive. Here’s a little more info on each type.
In hypothyroidism the thyroid gland does not create enough thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone is primarily responsible for regulating the body’s metabolism, and has an affect on every cell in the body.
Early signs of hypothyroidism include intolerance to cold, weight gain, fatigue, and poor muscle tone, to name a few. Symptoms can be mild and vague until you see late symptoms, such as a goiter, or puffy skin.
The most common cause for hypothyroidism worldwide is lack of iodine. Iodized salt is the number one way to counteract iodine deficiency, as it does not spoil and is consumed the world over.
Treatment for hypothyroidism can include giving the patient thyroid hormones to supplement their deficit, but there is no cure.
Hyperthyroidism refers to when the thyroid gland produces excess amounts of thyroid hormone. This excess hormone causes the body to ‘speed up’, which results in symptoms such as racing heart, nervousness, insomnia, and tremors. Hyperthyroidism shares some symptoms with hypothyroidism such as brittle hair and weakness.
The most common form of hyperthyroidism is Graves’ disease. Graves’ disease has no cure, but the symptoms can be reduced to increase comfort.
Hyperthyroidism can eventually tax the thyroid until it becomes underactive, and then lead to hypothyroidism.
Interesting fact: In the event of nuclear fallout after a nuclear device is detonated, the surrounding area is saturated with radioactive iodine-131, which is absorbed into the thyroid and then destroys it. Saturating the thyroid with non-radioactive iodine is a way to survive this, and that’s what those ‘fallout pills’ you can purchase are: Iodine for your thyroid.