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The Difference Between Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism

Thyroid disorders are very common, and yet many people miss the signs and symptoms, remaining unaware of their condition. Your thyroid is a small endocrine gland situated at the base of your neck. When it’s working efficiently it provides vital hormones that your body needs for a wide variety of functions. 

For reasons that remain unclear, some people develop problems with their thyroid gland. These issues prevent the thyroid from producing enough hormone (hypothyroidism) or cause the gland to secrete an excess hormone (hyperthyroidism). 

If you suspect something is amiss with your thyroid, scheduling a visit with an endocrinology specialist like Dr. Sam Morayati is a wise place to start. Here at Burlington Medical Center Dr. Morayati helps patients stay on top of their health. 

When patients have symptoms of thyroid disease, Dr. Morayati performs a comprehensive thyroid evaluation to assess thyroid function. From there, Dr. Morayati prescribes an appropriate treatment to relieve symptoms and restore levels to normal. 

Understanding hypothyroidism

Autoimmune thyroid disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. This occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks components of your thyroid. In people with hypothyroidism, the immune system produces antibodies that most commonly attack:

Low thyroid hormone causes a host of symptoms, including:

Symptoms tend to come on gradually.

Understanding hyperthyroidism

Less common than hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism means that your thyroid gland secretes too much thyroid hormone. Inflammation of the thyroid, lumps in the thyroid, and thyroid receptor antibodies are some of the most common causes of hyperthyroidism. In some cases consuming large amounts of iodine, usually from supplements, results in excess thyroid hormone production. 

Warning signs of an overactive thyroid are:

Some patients have a few mild symptoms, while others may have more severe signs. 

Treating thyroid disorders 

Treatment for thyroid disease depends on the cause. Hypothyroidism is treated by replacing the thyroid hormone your body no longer makes. This means taking thyroid replacement hormone. Most people will need to take thyroid replacement long-term. 

For mild cases of hyperthyroidism, Dr. Morayati may prescribe a medicine class called beta-blockers. These medications don’t stop the thyroid from producing excess hormones. Instead, they relieve the symptoms. 

Anti-thyroid medications are used to block thyroid hormone so that your levels return to a more normal range. In some cases, it’s necessary to remove part or all of the thyroid to treat hyperthyroidism. 

Radioiodine therapy involves taking a medication that gradually shrinks the thyroid gland to bring levels back to normal.

Seeking thyroid evaluation

A thyroid assessment is the best way to know how your thyroid is functioning. To learn more, and to schedule an appointment with Dr. Morayati at our Burlington, North Carolina office to discuss your thyroid health, contact us at Burlington Medical Center. We offer in-person and telehealth appointments.

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