An Endocrinologist specializes in diseases of the endocrine system, and one of the most important glands involved is the thyroid. The thyroid is a large gland in your neck that acts as one of the central regulators of many of your body’s autonomous systems, secreting a wide variety of hormones that control how your body reacts. Your metabolism, your growth rate, even your heartbeat is at least partially controlled by the thyroid.
So, diseases of the thyroid must be taken very seriously! Two of the most common thyroid disorders are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Even though they involve the same gland, the symptoms can be quite subtle in some cases and quite distinct in others. Its important to work with a physician who knows the difference so you can be properly diagnosed and treated.
Hyperthyroidism vs Hypothyroidism: Knowing the Differences
The two terms ultimately relate to hormone production from the thyroid. Hyperthyroidism means it’s producing too many hormones; hypothyroidism means it isn’t producing enough. Obviously, these will produce many different symptoms and situations.
When the thyroid is producing too many hormones, the effect is to speed up the entire body.. While it’s true that people often take stimulants to provide a similar effect, with hyperthyroidism it’s much more dangerous because it’s out of control. The symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:
- Sweating and a feeling of being hot
- Racing, distracted thoughts
- Difficulty focusing or remembering
- Elevated heart rate
- Anxiety or irritability
- Loose Bowels
- Weight loss
Left untreated, hyperthyroidism can lead to your body essentially burning itself out from over-work.
Hypothyroidism is the opposite, a car which can barely even maintain enough RPMs to keep itself moving. Without sufficient hormone levels, your body struggles to maintain normal operation, and there is the constant risk of failure in various body systems. Common symptoms include:
- Constant fatigue
- Weight gain
- Brittle nails
- Dry hair and skin
- Persistent muscle cramps
- Swelling of the thyroid gland itself
The worst aspect of untreated hypothyroidism is that it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle. The depressed/fatigued patient loses interest in daily activities, which leads to weight gain, which makes it even harder to engage in activities, leading to more weight gain, and so forth.
If You Suspect Thyroid Problems, Seek Professional Help
Thyroid problems are serious. If you are experiencing either set of symptoms, contact Freeman Endocrinology for an appointment and get your thyroid tested..