Thyroid Disorders – Hypothyroidism & Hyperthyroidism

Thyroid controls how your body’s cells use energy from food, a process called metabolism. If you don’t have enough thyroid hormone, your body processes slow down. That means your body makes less energy and your metabolism becomes sluggish.

Hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid)

Hypothyroidism is a common disorder, in which your thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone.

If left untreated, hypothyroidism can predispose you to other major health diseases, such as:

  • Arteriosclerosis: Build-up of fats and cholesterol (plague) on the walls of your arteries, causing them to become narrow over time, thus restricting blood flow to your heart and organs.
  • Hypertension: Weight gain can lead to high blood pressure
  • Obesity: Lethargy, muscle weakness, increased cholesterol and low BMR (all symptoms of hypothyroidism) can lead to excessive weight gain
  • Diabetes: uncontrolled obesity can result in diabetes and insulin resistance
  • Reproductive Issues:
    • Women: menstrual disorder and infertility
    • Men: loss of libido and impotency

What causes Hypothyroidism?

The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Thyroiditis is an inflammation of the thyroid gland and is an autoimmune disorder. With Hashimoto’s, your body produces antibodies that attack and destroy the thyroid gland.

Risk Factors:

  • Family history: Having a relative with autoimmune thyroid disease
  • Age: Hypothyroidism can start at any age, but the risk keeps growing as people get older.
  • Gender: Hypothyroidism is more common in women than men. It is much more common in young women than young men, but as men get older, they start to catch up.
  • Race: Hypothyroidism is common in Caucasians and Asians. African-Americans are at lower risk.
  • Presence of other autoimmune disorders
  • Down syndrome or Turner’s syndrome
  • The rate of hypothyroidism goes up:
    • During pregnancy
    • After delivery
    • Around menopause

Hyperthyroidism (Overactive Thyroid)

Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces and secretes too much thyroid hormones. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism may include weight loss, nervousness, irritability, increased perspiration, a racing heart, hand tremors, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, increased bowel movements, fine brittle hair, and muscular weakness-especially in the upper arms and thighs.