The Difference Between Hashimoto Thyroid and Hyperactive Thyroid


It’s very important for each patient to come to a clear understanding of what their own health problems entail. Unfortunately, this can be rather confusing for people suffering with thyroid problems as there are a number of different conditions and diseases that affect the thyroid. Also, many of them are interrelated, which only adds to the confusion!

The first thing to understand about the difference between Hashimoto Thyroid and Hyperactive Thyroid is that Hashimoto’s is a disease while Hyperactive thyroid is a condition. The two terms are closely interrelated, but do not mean exactly the same thing. A condition is simply a state of being. In medical terms that refers to the state that a particular part of the body (in this case the thyroid) is in. So Hyperactive Thyroid is a condition where your body is producing too much of the thyroid hormones.

A disease is considered an abnormal condition that occurs because of some influencing factor such as a virus, poison, genetic errors, or anything “un-natural” that is affecting the function of the body. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease. This means that the body has incorrectly identified the thyroid as a threat (like it would a virus) and is producing antibodies that attack the thyroid. This usually results in a hypoactive thyroid and the gradual destruction of the thyroid itself.

There are two ways in which a person with Hasimoto’s might actually end up exhibiting Hyperthyroidism instead of Hypothyroidism. The first occurs when the dying thyroid actually comes back to life for a brief period of time. If the patient is on medication to supplement their missing thyroid hormones then they might experience Hyperthyroidism symptoms during the short period of time that their thyroid is actually functioning.

It is also possible, but rare, to have both Hasimoto’s and Graves disease. Graves disease is also an autoimmune disease and it is characterized by an overproduction of the thyroid hormone that occurs because the autoantibodies that trigger Thyroid production are in excess. If a person has both Hashimoto’s and Graves disease then they will swing between Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism.

Hasimoto’s disease will initially present itself with the same symptoms as Hypothyroidism. These generally include fatigue, sensitivity to cold, constipation, depression, muscle weakness, pale and/or dry skin, pain and swelling in your joints, high cholesterol, a puffy face, extended menstrual periods, and unexplained weight gain. In contrast hyperthyroidism generally includes heat intolerance, insomnia, light menstrual periods, weight loss, a fast heart rate, moist skin, diarrhea, trembling hands, and hair loss. Hyperthyroidism can cause fatigue and muscle weakness similar to Hasimoto’s but the causes are different. A doctor will diagnose the disease or condition based on the combination of symptoms and blood tests.

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