Hypothyroidism vs. hyperthyroidism symptoms, living with thyroid diseases

Hypothyroidism vs. hyperthyroidismHypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are two common forms of thyroid diseases, which – if left unmanaged – can make daily living quite challenging. Hypothyroidism is also known as an underactive thyroid, meaning the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones, thus slowing down bodily functions. In hyperthyroidism – overactive thyroid – the thyroid overproduces thyroid hormones, which in turn speed up bodily functions.

Hypothyroidism is a long-term health problem that needs to be managed throughout a person’s life. In hyperthyroidism, some cases may be temporary if they are a result of pregnancy or an autoimmune disease known as Grave’s disease, which does not have a cure.


Although both conditions affect the thyroid, they are two different diseases and so it’s important to understand their differences.

Hypothyroidism vs. hyperthyroidism

The biggest difference between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism is hormone levels. In hypothyroidism, hormone levels are low, and in hyperthyroidism hormone levels are high.

Another difference is the cause of either condition. For hypothyroidism, the most common cause is Hashimoto’s disease, and in hyperthyroidism the common cause is Grave’s disease. Both diseases are autoimmune, which means the immune system mistakenly attacks itself, leading to malfunctions of the thyroid gland.

Difference between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism symptoms

Other differences between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are in the symptoms. Either condition can affect the body in its own unique ways, so the below chart outlines these differences within the body.

Hyperthyroid vs. hypothyroid symptoms chart

Body weightWeight gainWeight loss
Temperature sensitivityIntolerant to coldIntolerant to heat
Heart rateSlow heart rate (bradycardia)Fast heart rate (tachycardia)
Blood pressureHypertension or hypotensionHypertension
Sexual/reproductive functioningInfertility, loss of libido, and erectile dysfunctionInfertility, loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, and spontaneous abortion
Energy levelsLow energy, fatigue, sleepinessFatigued but hyperactive – cannot sit still
Bowel movementsConstipationDiarrhea
Mental stateDepression, poor memory, and inability to concentrateAnxious, irritable, and nervous
Fluid accumulationLeg, hands, eyelid swelling, fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion) and heart (pericardial effusion), abdominal swelling,round, puffy faceAnkle swelling, feet and toes may also be swollen
Skin and hairDry, pale skin, coarse, dry hair, purple-tinged lips, itchy skin, hair loss, loss of lateral eyebrow, red rash with lines of hyperpigmentationSweaty skin, warm and smooth skin, thinning skin, pigmentation, itchy skin, hair loss, redness of palms
ReflexesDelayed relaxation of reflexesOveractive reflexes
Menstrual cyclesHeavy flow and prolonged or frequent periodsLight flow with absent or infrequent periods
Muscle and movementsMuscle stiffness, slow to relax, aches and painsTremors and muscle weakness

Suffering from both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism

There are times when both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can occur together. In the first instance, treatment of one thyroid disease can contribute to the onset of another, and in the second instance an autoimmune disease can be responsible for both.


Minisha Sood, MD, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, explained the first instance, “Sometimes a person has hypothyroidism and is treated with too much thyroid hormone and may start to develop symptoms of hyperthyroidism, such as weight loss, rapid heart beat, sweatiness, and shakiness.” On the other hand, aggressive treatment of hyperthyroidism can lead to hypothyroidism.

In instance two, antibodies from one autoimmune disease that commonly leads to thyroid disease – Grave’s disease or Hashimoto’s disease – can trigger antibodies for the other autoimmune disease, thus contributing to both thyroid diseases. Although both diseases cannot occur at the same time, an individual with autoimmune-mediated thyroid diseases may go about their life switching from hypothyroidism to hyperthyroidism and vice versa.

Doctors suggest that when you begin to notice a switch in your symptoms either from fast to slow or slow to fast, go get yourself checked right away before complications can occur.

Author Bio

Devon Andre has been involved in the health and dietary supplement industry for a number of years. Devon has written extensively for Bel Marra Health. He has a Bachelor of Forensic Science from the University of Windsor, and went on to complete a Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh. Devon is keenly aware of trends and new developments in the area of health and wellness. He embraces an active lifestyle combining diet, exercise and healthy choices. By working to inform readers of the options available to them, he hopes to improve their health and quality of life.



Related Reading:

Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) causes, symptoms, natural home remedies, and treatment

Healing thyroid disorders hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism naturally