Updated: October 1, 2022
Doctor Bradley Glenn with Maui Health explains the difference between hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
The thyroid is a gland in your neck that is important for regulating the hormones that
control metabolism. When the thyroid isn’t functioning properly, and these hormones
become unbalanced, it can cause several health problems.
Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid produces too much hormone, causing your
metabolism to become over-active. This can be caused by medical conditions including
Graves disease, or by nodules on the thyroid.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include a racing heartbeat, shaking, sweating, muscle
weakness, and weight loss. You may also feel restless, irritable, or anxious, and other
symptoms may include brittle hair and nails, and thin skin.
With hypothyroidism, the opposite problem occurs. The thyroid does not produce
enough hormone, and your metabolism slows down. This can be caused by
Hashimoto’s disease, or when your thyroid glad has been damaged by surgery or
Symptoms can include fatigue, weight gain, depression, weakness, slower heart rate,
dry skin, constipation, and sensitivity to cold. In severe cases it can lead to coma.
Fortunately, both of these conditions are treatable with medication or surgery. If you
think you may have a thyroid problem, talk with your doctor about getting a diagnosis.