Difference between Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism

Michael Rosenberg
Michael Rosenberg

Specializes in translating complex information into readable, engaging content. Michael@top10us.com

What are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism? 

Hypothyroidism is a decrease in the level of thyroid hormones in the body whereas hyperthyroidism is an increase in the level of thyroid hormone in the body. The thyroid produces an excessive amount of triiodothyronine and thyroxine due to hyperthyroidism. Both are related to thyroid glands but have different signs, symptoms, methods of diagnosis, and treatment.

Hypothyroidism is caused due to underactive thyroid glands and hyperthyroidism is caused due to overactive thyroid glands. Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism both are dangerous for health if not diagnosed at the right time and treated accordingly. Due to underactive thyroid, hypothyroidism causes symptoms such as weight gain, puffy face, depression, hair loss, dry skin, change in the menstrual cycle, swelling in the neck, constipation, hypersensitivity towards the cold, slowed metabolism, and tiredness. On the other hand, the symptoms of hyperthyroidism are totally opposite to hypothyroidism, such as weight gain, irregular menstrual cycle, sweating, frequent bowel movement, anxiety, enlargement of the glands, easily getting hot, insomnia and the patient feels more energetic.

Statistics on hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is the more common of the two diseases all over the world. In the United States, after the age of 12, almost 1 person out of 20 people is diagnosed with hypothyroidism. According to statistical data, almost 4.6% of people are affected due to hypothyroidism in the US. In children, hypothyroidism stays for a short time, but it can change the pubertal characteristics in teenagers.

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Causes of hypothyroidism

One of the biggest causes of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. In this disease, the immune system of the patient is attacked by his own body that causes the thyroid glands to stop the production of thyroid hormone. It is more common in women than the men. Another cause of hypothyroidism is the intake of an iodine-deficient diet.  Hypothyroidism can be caused due to some other medical reasons like cancer, surgical or radioactive treatment for hyperthyroidism, the disturbance in the functioning of pituitary glands in the brain, and the uptake of medicines such as lithium and amiodarone, and it might be congenital. 

Treatment for hypothyroidism

According to the American Thyroid Association, there is no proper and permanent cure for underactive thyroid. The medicines can improve the functioning of the thyroid in the body and try to restore hormone levels. Hypothyroidism is treated with thyroid hormone supplements. Levothyroxine is most commonly used to treat hypothyroidism that is extracted from animals. If it is left untreated, hypothyroidism can cause the death of the patient due to unconsciousness. 

Diagnosis of hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism can be diagnosed by a simple blood test. However, it also depends on the person because for some patients, it’s not so simple to diagnose hypothyroidism.  

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Statistics on hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is less common than hypothyroidism. In the US, 1 person out of 100 is affected by this disease. And its treatment is available in different methods such as medication, radioactive iodine treatment, and surgery. Hyperthyroidism causes thyroid eye disease in almost 30% of people. It affects the muscles and tissues around the eye, redness around the eye, sensitivity to light, bulging eyes, and also affects vision.

Causes of hyperthyroidism

It can be caused after the treatment for hypothyroidism, thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition that is known as Graves’ disease, taking too many thyroid hormones, formation of small masses within the thyroid, postpartum thyroiditis, and the formation of thyroid nodules that produce an excessive amount of T4 hormone. The autoimmune disease Nodule formation is common in both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Although the nodules are benign and lead to enlargement of the thyroid gland that produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormone. 

Treatment for hyperthyroidism

Its treatment depends on the age of the person and if a pregnant woman suffers from hyperthyroidism, then for the safety of the child the best way to treat hyperthyroidism is surgery. If hyperthyroidism is left untreated, it can cause serious effects such as infertility, weight loss, and heartbeat irregularity. 

Hyperthyroidism can cause thyroid cancer. The percentage of thyroid cancer is almost three times more in women than in men. The best and most effective treatment for hyperthyroidism is radioactive iodine because it is only absorbed by the thyroid and leaves no side effects on the other parts of the body. 

Diagnosis of hyperthyroidism 

Hyperthyroidism can be diagnosed by ultrasound, thyroid panel, and radioactive iodine uptake test, and thyroid scan.


Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are dangerous if left untreated. Both cause harmful effects on pregnant women. Hyperthyroidism is not permanent and can be fully treated. However, if the patient suffers from hyperthyroidism even after its treatment, then the doctors suggest removing thyroid glands by surgery. 

Hypothyroidism can be permanent. If the thyroid glands of the patient had been removed during the treatment of hyperthyroidism, then the patient has to take medicines on a daily basis in his whole life. Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism cannot occur at the same time, but they can shift with the passage of time. Both thyroid diseases can run in families. According to research, 1 woman out of 8 suffers from a thyroid disease at some point in her life. When the patient is treated for hypothyroidism, he can be better with medication, but it is a condition that requires treatment for the whole life. Whereas hyperthyroidism can be treated with medication if it doesn’t get better with medication then thyroid glands can be removed by surgery.

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Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism and Thyroid Tests


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