Hyperthyroidism vs. Hypothyroidism

Hyperthyroidism vs. Hypothyroidism

The American Thyroid Association reports that an estimated 20 million Americans have some sort of thyroid disease, and up to 60 percent are unaware of their condition. The thyroid is a bow tie shaped gland located in the base of your neck, and produces a hormone that influences every cell, tissue and organ in the body. 

Many people are unaware of the signs and symptoms of thyroid dysfunction and hormonal imbalance, and it isn’t uncommon for us to uncover these issues within our wellness clients. But, once they are revealed, we can begin healing at the root of the problem – not just masking the symptoms.

Hyperthyroidism vs. Hypothyroidism
Both of these conditions cause symptoms throughout the body, and it is helpful to know the difference to help you discuss your symptoms and blood work with your functional medicine practitioner.

Hyperthyroidism (too much)
When you produce too much thyroid hormone, you can develop hyperthyroidism. The symptoms can be subtle, and ignoring them can increase your risk for stroke, decrease your bone density, and cause immediate health concerns.

Some causes of hyperthyroidism include Grave’s disease and swollen thyroid. There are many signs and symptoms your doctor and functional medicine practitioner may recognize as being caused by hyperthyroidism, including:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Skin thinning
  • Fine, brittle hair
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Heart palpitations
  • Increased appetite
  • Nervousness, anxiety and irritability
  • Tremor (typically a fine trembling in your hands and fingers)
  • Sweating
  • Changes in bowel patterns (especially more frequent bowel movements)
  • An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), which may appear as a swelling at the base of your neck
  • Fatigue and weakness

Hypothyroidism (not enough)

The opposite of an overactive thyroid is, of course, an underactive thyroid and is more common that than hyperthyroidism.  Symptoms that typically signify hypothyroidism include:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Dry skin
  • Weight gain
  • Puffy face
  • Thinning hair
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Hoarseness
  • Muscle weakness, aches and stiffness
  • Elevated blood cholesterol level
  • Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Impaired memory
  • Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter)

While both conditions are not “curable” and are conventionally treated with medications, there are holistic approaches to help manage symptoms and in the case of hypothyroidism, help you naturally increase thyroid hormone production.

Our program begins with nutritional changes, supplementation and uncovering any underlying causes such as inflammation, nutrient deficiencies, stress level and hormone levels.

It is extremely important to be in tune with y our body and how you are feeling. Feeling tired from a late night out is much different that a chronic fatigue that rules you day. If you are having any of the above symptoms or just do not feel your best, a visit to your physician and functional medicine practitioner may be in order.

If you are ready to take the first step or have questions about holistic solutions to your health, please join us at one of our free seminars. 

A full calendar of events can be found here.

Important Information: Dr. Rappe, D.C. is a certified functional medicine practitioner and is not a medical doctor. The information presented and/or supplements prescribed is not intended to take the place of your primary care physician’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Discuss our information with your own primary care physician to determine what is right for you. All information obtained in our office, from our website, social media pages, private member groups, health coaching services or other communications is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice from your primary care physician or treatment for specific medical conditions. 


Lorrie Rappe
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