Difference Between Hypo- and Hyper-thyroidism

We hear the terms hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism tossed around so much that we may not even realize that there is a difference. And those who don’t hear well (or those who don’t pay much attention) may not even realize they are two different words.

Truth is, while they both refer to the conditions of an ailing thyroid, there is a huge difference between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.


Hypothyroidism is a condition of the thyroid when it does not release enough hormones to keep the body running efficiently. Since your tiny thyroid has a big job, when it doesn’t provide what the body’s organs need, it is going to lead to some big impacts on your overall health.

Potential Causes:

Although hypothyroidism can result from several things, there are a few common causes of this condition. They include:

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Thyroiditis
  • Issues or damage concerning the pituitary gland
  • Abnormal levels of iodine
  • Radiation treatment
  • Removal of the thyroid
  • Genetics
  • Certain medications


Hypothyroidism slows the body and its processes down. This results in common symptoms like:

  • Fatigue
  • Slow heart rate
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Joint pain
  • Weight gain
  • Brittle nails
  • Hair loss
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Constipation
  • Feeling cold

It is important to note that these are just a few of the most popular symptoms. There are many different ways in which the body can react to the slowing of thyroid function.


Hyperthyroidism is the opposite. Rather than slowing the body down, hyperthyroidism speeds everything up. It releases too much of the thyroid hormone, overloading all the organs and processes throughout the body.

Potential Causes:

What causes the thyroid to overwork itself? Well, there are several things that can lead to hyperthyroidism, including:

  • Autoimmune disease
  • Thyroid nodules
  • Thyroiditis
  • Abnormal iodine levels

Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive.


If you are wondering what it feels like when your thyroid is working overtime, here are a few of the most commonly reported symptoms:

  • Increased sweating
  • Increased heart rate/ heart palpitations
  • Feeling warm
  • Weight loss
  • Anxiety/nervousness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Insomnia

Common Misdiagnosis

Each person will experience both of these thyroid conditions differently. And many times, presenting at a medical doctor’s office with these general symptoms can lead to misdiagnosis. So many of the symptoms are general that can also signal other conditions, too. Without doing additional bloodwork to get to the root cause of the health concern, it may end up being a case of only treating the symptom.

You are the only one who knows when something doesn’t feel right. Sometimes going outside the box can help you get to the bottom of your health concern and help you begin healing from the inside out.

Ready to learn more?  Learn more about a natural approach to your thyroid and your overall health.  Contact Dr. Randy Hansbrough and his team at (772) 287-7701. Or sign up for a free, 30-minute consultation.