What are the Two Types of Thyroid Disease?

Jan 06, 2023

Katie Breazeale, MS, RD, LD

 

Let’s take a medical dive into the thyroid. Have you ever heard someone say they can’t lose weight because of their thyroid? That is a side effect for one of the types of thyroid disease. Problems with the thyroid include a variety of disorders that can result in the gland producing too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) or too much (hyperthyroidism). Did you know thyroid disorders can affect your heart rate, mood, energy level, metabolism, bone health, pregnancy, and many other functions.

 

Your thyroid works hard. Your thyroid produces 2 hormones, and these are what your doctor will check to determine if you have a disorder. The hormones are triiodothyronine, or T3, and thyroxine (T4). The gland also produces calcitonin, which helps bone cells process calcium and add it to the bones.

 

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid gland cannot make enough hormones too keep your body running normally. Diagnosis for hypothyroidism is a blood test. TSH is the main indicatorAn abnormally high TSH means hypothyroidism: the thyroid gland is being asked to make more T4 because there isn’t enough T4 in the blood. Sounds backwards right, but if the TSH is high it indicated hypothyroidism. 

 

If you notice some of these signs you may want to have your thyroid checked out. You may feel colder, more tired, you may notice dryer skin, forgetfulness, and constipation.

 

Treatment may be medication, surgery, or therapy treatment.

 

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is when your thyroid gland is producing too much of the hormone. Hyperthyroidism is characterized by increased thyroid hormone synthesis and secretion from the thyroid gland, whereas thyrotoxicosis refers to the clinical syndrome of excess circulating thyroid hormones, irrespective of the source. Diagnosis is a blood test. A high level of thyroid hormone in the blood plus a low level of TSH is common with an overactive thyroid gland.

 

Some signs that your thyroid might be nervousness, irritability, sweating, brittle hair, difficulty sleeping, weight loss, or muscle weakness. 

 

Graves disease is the most common form of hyperthyroidism.

 

Treatment methods can include radioactive iodine, medication, surgery, or beta blockers. 

 

While these are the two most common forms of thyroid disease there are other diseases that can affect the thyroid. Nodules, cancer, autoimmune diseases, pregnancy, and viral infections can affect the thyroid’s function. 

 

Supplements may interfere with blood tests when evaluating your thyroid function. Biotin, which is found in multivitamins and hair, nail supplements could lead to false highs of T4 and T3, or a false low of TSH. Let your provider know any supplements you may be taking.

 

If you have experienced these symptoms discuss with your doctor about proper diagnosis and your treatment options. Diet will be one factor of your treatment based on the type of thyroid disease you’re having along with the treatment you and your provider determine is the best fit.

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