Thyroid is a gland located just above the collarbone, which is responsible for metabolic functions. It releases hormones and controls things like our heart beat and how fast we burn calories.
Sometimes, there is a fault in how the thyroid gland works which can lead to an over active or an under active thyroid. In case of hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland is over active and produces too much of the hormone called thyroxin. It can speed up metabolism and cause various symptoms.
In case of hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland produces too little of thyroxin. This can slow down metabolism and again cause discomfort.
How do you know you have Hyperthyroidism?
In case of hyperthyroidism, your body will display the following symptoms:
- An enlarged thyroid (Goitre)
- Weight loss
- Sleep problems
- Changes in menstrual cycle
- Thinning of hair
- Thinning of skin
- Sensitivity to heat
- Increased bowel movements
Hyperthyroidism takes years to develop, but in younger people the symptoms may come on suddenly. Older adults may or may not experience all of the symptoms and may sometimes confuse it with age-related issues.
Complications associated with Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism may cause the following complications:
- Arrhythmia: Arrhythmia is defined as irregular heartbeat. Hyperthyroidism can cause abnormal heart beats and palpitations.
- Cardiac dilation: Due to excessive thyroid hormone, there can be an increase in the size of the heart cavities, which can lead to thinning of the heart muscles.
- Osteoporosis: Untreated hyperthyroidism over time may cause the body to pull calcium and phosphate out of the bones and to excrete too much calcium and phosphorous (through the urine and stool). This will thin the bones and cause osteoporosis.
- Hypertension: Unchecked hyperthyroidism can also lead to uncontrolled blood pressure and hypertension.
How do you know you have Hypothyroidism?
If you have hypothyroidism, your body may display the following symptoms:
- Muscle weakness
- Impaired memory
- Hair thinning
- Dry skin
- Weight gain
- Puffy face
- Muscle weakness
- High cholesterol levels
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Slower heart rate
Hypothyroidism also develops over a period of time. Older people especially may attribute the slow metabolism and other changes to age but with time, they may develop other complications.
Complications associated with Hypothyroidism
- Goiter: Constant stimulation of the gland may cause it to enlarge which can interfere with breathing and eating.
- Depression: Depression is one of the biggest side-effects of hypothyroidism. It slows down mental functioning.
- Infertility: Low levels on hormones can interfere with ovulation and cause infertility in women.
- Peripheral neuropathy: This is a rare but life-threatening condition that happens when hypothyroidism is left untreated. It symptoms are intense cold, drowsiness and unconsciousness.
- Peripheral neuropathy: Hypothyroidism can cause tingling and numbness in the affected areas. It destroys the peripheral nerves that carry information from the brain to the other parts of the body.
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