Hypothyroid vs. Hyperthyroid

The difference between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism is that in the hypothyroid condition the activity of thyroid gland is reduced and metabolic functions of the body are reduced while in hyperthyroidism the activity of thyroid gland is increased than normal and the metabolic functions of the body are exaggerated.

Hypothyroid vs. Hyperthyroid
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The thyroid gland is present in front of the neck. One can feel it by touching the front of the neck. It produces T3 and T4 hormones in the response of thyroid stimulating hormone which is secreted from the pituitary gland. When thyroid gland hormones production is less than normal, it is termed as hypothyroidism while when its hormone production is greater than the normal range, it is called as hyperthyroidism. The hypothyroid condition is also known as underactive thyroid while the hyperthyroid condition is also known as an overactive thyroid.

There may be many causes of hypothyroidism that includes diet what is deficient in iodine, exposure to radiation for cancer treatment or radiology department workers, genetics, autoimmune disorders, drugs used in the treatment of cancers, pituitary disorders and some psychiatric conditions. While the reasons for hyperthyroidism include thyroid hormones secreting nodules, graves disease, thyroid tumors which may be benign or malignant, extrathyroidal tumors which contain thyroid tissues and pituitary disorders.

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In hypothyroidism, the metabolism of the body becomes slow, and thus the weight of such person is enhanced. The person feels tiredness, sluggish and sleepy. Heart rate and pulse rate becomes slow. Cold sensitivity is enhanced. Palms and feet remain cold. Hairs are dry, and hair loss is frequent. Such a person feels depression, muscle cramps, and constipation. Generally, hypothyroid persons appear fatty, edematous, sleepy and sluggish. There are edema and puffiness around the eyes. The persons who have hyperthyroidism have hyperactive metabolism, and that is why they appear thin and lean. They have hot intolerance and shakiness. Due to hyperactivity of GIT, they have a tendency to suffer from diarrhea. Their heart rate and pulse rate is greater than normal, and they may suffer from nausea and vomiting. They also suffer from hair loss. Their eyes appear bulging forward, this sign is known as exophthalmos.

Diagnosis of hypothyroidism is made by history, general physical examination and investigations that include thyroid scan, radioactive iodine uptake test and test for TSH and free and bound T3 and T4. Same investigations are required for the diagnosis of hyperthyroidism.

Treatment of hypothyroidism includes synthetic thyroid hormones, e.g. levothyroxine or observed and corrected iodine supplementation. Treatment of hyperthyroidism includes beta blockers which reduce the symptoms of hyperactive metabolism, e.g. increased B.P., pulse rate, and heart rate. Anti-thyroid drugs are also given e.g. methimazole.

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Comparison Chart

Basis Hypothyroid Hyperthyroid
Definition It is a condition in which the activity of thyroid gland is reduced than normal. It is a condition in which the activity of thyroid gland is greater than normal.
T3 and T4 production Production of T3 and T4 is decreased Production of T3 and T4 is enhanced.
TSH production Production of TSH is greater than normal due to feedback mechanism… Production of TSH is less than normal due to the feedback mechanism.
Causes There may be many reasons for hypothyroidism that include iodine deficient diet, radiation exposure, anti-thyroid drugs, genetics, autoimmune disorders, medicines used in cancer treatment and some psychiatric conditions. There may be many reasons of hyperthyroidism like inflammation of the thyroid, nodules formation in the parenchyma of the thyroid, graves disease, benign or malignant tumors of the thyroid, pituitary disorders and tumors in the other organs of the body which have thyroid tissues.
Symptoms BMI is greater than normal. Metabolism is slow. Slow heart rate and pulse rate. Blood pressure is less than normal. Hair is dry and frequent hair loss. Mood swings and depression. Muscle cramps. Constipation. A person is lazy, sleepy and lethargic. Weight loss. BMI is less than normal. Itchy and red skin. Hair loss. Pulse rate and heart rate is enhanced. B.P. is greater than normal. Diarrhea may occur. Mood swings and depression. A person is hyperactive.
Diagnosis It is diagnosed by history and investigations. Investigations include a test for TSH and free and bound T3 and T4. Test of radioactive iodine uptake may also be performed. It is diagnosed by history and examination. Investigations include a test of TSH and free and bound T3 and T4. Test for radioactive iodine uptake may also be performed.
Response to environmental temperature There is cold intolerance. There is heat intolerance.
Treatment Treatment of hypothyroidism includes corrected and observed intake of iodine and synthetic thyroid hormone, e.g., levothyroxine. Treatment of hyperthyroidism is carried out by beta blockers which resolve the systemic symptoms and anti-thyroid drugs like methimazole.

What is hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is stated in which the production of thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) by the thyroid gland is reduced. These hormones control the whole metabolism of the body. Thus the persons suffering from hypothyroidism have a tendency to weight gain. BMI of such person is greater than the normal range. Heart rate and pulse rate is slow, and blood pressure is also less than normal. The person also feels constipation. Such persons are sluggish and less active and often remain sleepy. There is also a complaint of low mood and frequent mood swings. Hair is dry, and hair loss often occurs. Skin is dry and edematous because flood accumulates below the skin, so there is puffiness of the skin.

There may be many causes of hypothyroidism, e.g. dietary iodine deficiency, Hashimoto thyroiditis which is the autoimmune destruction of the thyroid tissues, genetic causes, radiation exposure, anti-thyroid drugs and drugs used for cancer treatment and certain cancer medications.

Diagnosis of hypothyroidism is made by history and examination, but sometimes investigations are needed which include thyroid scan, radioactive iodine uptake test, test for TSH and free and bound T3 and T4.

Treatment is carried out by synthetic thyroid hormone, e.g. levothyroxine and corrected and observed dosage of iodine.

What is hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism is a state of thyroid gland hyperactivation and thus T3, and T4 production is enhanced. The metabolism of the body becomes faster and pulse rate, B.P. and heart rate is greater than normal. There is frequent hair loss, and usually, such a person is thin and lean. Eyes are protruding a sign known as exophthalmos. Such a person usually has heat intolerance.  Diagnosis is made by history and examination and investigations same as for hypothyroidism. Treatment is carried out by beta blockers and anti-thyroid drugs.

Key differences

  1. In hypothyroidism, the hormonal production by the thyroid gland is decreased while in hyperthyroidism, production is increased.
  2. In hypothyroidism, B.P. , heart rate, and pulse rate are reduced while in hyperthyroidism, these are increased.
  3. In hypothyroid condition, there is weight gain while in hyperthyroid condition, there is weight loss.
  4. Hypothyroid persons are cold intolerant while hyperthyroid persons are heat intolerant.
  5. Treatment of hypothyroidism is carried out by iodine and synthetic thyroid hormones while that of hyperthyroidism is carried out by beta blockers and anti-thyroid drugs.

Conclusion

The thyroid gland has the prime importance in the glands of our body. Its hormones affect the metabolism and other functions of our body. It is important for medical students to know the differences between hypo and hyperthyroid states. In the above article, we knew the clear differences between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

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