Understanding the Difference Between Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism

Understanding the Difference Between Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism

Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism may sound closely related, but these two conditions are polar opposites. The first describes a condition in which your thyroid underproduces hormones, while the second describes an overproduction of hormones.

In either case, disorders of the thyroid that affect how this small gland produces thyroid hormones can cast a wide net over your health. To help you distinguish the differences between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, board-certified internist Rajesh Dave and our team gathered the following information.

The role of your thyroid

Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that’s found in your neck, and it’s responsible for producing thyroid hormones, which regulate your metabolism, which includes how your body uses energy. 

As part of this effort, your thyroid hormones play a considerable role in your:

This list is by no means comprehensive, but it gives you an idea of the many areas of your health that your thyroid influences.


Now that we better understand which areas of your health that your thyroid regulates, the symptoms that come with over- or underproduction of your thyroid hormones will make more sense.

For example, when you develop hypothyroidism, you may experience:

In some cases, your hypothyroidism may be minor enough that you don’t notice any side effects, but the problem may worsen, leaving you with seemingly unrelated symptoms that can all be tied to a thyroid hormone deficiency.

Hypothyroidism can be caused by a number of different conditions, including Hashimoto’s disease, thyroid surgery or cancer, or thyroiditis. We can treat it by prescribing medication to replace your thyroid hormones.


If your thyroid overproduces thyroid hormones, the effects are quite the opposite of the ones we list above. 

For example, hyperthyroidism can lead to:

Here again, if your thyroid levels are only slightly elevated, you may not experience any symptoms. Should your hyperthyroidism get worse, however, the repercussions can be very serious.

Hyperthyroidism can be the result of conditions like Grave’s disease or thyroiditis.

Treating thyroid disorders

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms we list above, it’s important that you come see us so we can identify the underlying problem. Since the symptoms of both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism mimic many other conditions, it’s important that you have an experienced professional like Dr. Dave take a look so that he can better connect the dots.

To check your thyroid function, we draw some blood to measure your thyroid levels. If we find a deficiency, we can usually resolve the problem through hormone replacement therapy.

If we diagnose hyperthyroidism, we can treat the problem with radioactive iodine, beta blockers, or anti-thyroid medications. In rare cases, Dr. Dave may recommend thyroid surgery.

If you’re experiencing unexplained changes in your overall health, it’s important that you come see us for a diagnosis. To get started, contact our office in Port Richey, Florida, by clicking here.

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