An introduction to hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism

January is Thyroid Consciousness Month so we spoke with Dr. Scott McCusker, Ear, Nostril and Throat specialist with Dignity Health Mercy Medical Group to find out about widespread thyroid ailments like hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. 

What are thyroid ailments?

“The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland within the entrance of your neck that makes thyroid hormones, that are our fundamental regulator of metabolism,” says Dr. McCusker. “Thyroid hormones management the way in which your physique makes use of power, so that they have an effect on almost each organ in your physique. The 2 commonest thyroid ailments are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.”

Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid isn’t making sufficient thyroid hormones, or below exercise, whereas hyperthyroidism is the place your thyroid is making an excessive amount of thyroid hormone, or over exercise. 

Practically 5 out of 100 Individuals ages 12 and older have hypothyroidism, and about 1 out of 100 Individuals ages 12 years and older have hyperthyroidism. Girls and other people over the age of 60 usually tend to develop a thyroid illness. 

What are widespread thyroid illness signs?

“We wish the thyroid to secrete sufficient hormones to maintain our metabolism regular. We don’t need it to create too little or an excessive amount of,” says Dr. McCusker. “Nevertheless, a lot of its signs are the identical as these of different ailments, so you should definitely talk about your issues together with your physician or an endocrinologist.” 

Widespread Signs



  • Tiredness
  • Sensitivity to chilly
  • Unintentional weight acquire
  • Muscle weak spot
  • Constipation
  • Gradual coronary heart charge
  • Decreased urge for food
  • Low physique temperature
  • Reminiscence impairment
  • Melancholy
  • Dry pores and skin, thinning hair
  • Racing coronary heart, nervousness, nervousness and irritability
  • Sensitivity to warmth
  • Unintentional weight reduction
  • Muscle weak spot
  • Extra frequent bowel motion
  • Tremors
  • Elevated urge for food
  • Excessive physique temperature
  • Temper swings


How are thyroid ailments identified?
“A thyroid analysis can’t be given primarily based on signs alone, says Dr. McCusker. “Your physician might use a number of checks to substantiate the analysis and discover its trigger together with a bodily examination, blood work, and imaging checks.”

How are thyroid ailments handled?
“Whereas most thyroid ailments are continual, or a lifelong medical situation, most sufferers can enhance their high quality of life with correct therapy,” says Dr. McCusker.

As thyroid illness varies from individual to individual, the strategy to therapy additionally varies. 

With hypothyroidism, usually, treatment is used to switch the hormones that your thyroid can not make. Your physician will monitor your blood and modify as wanted till the correct dose has been decided. When you begin taking treatment, it’s seemingly that you will want to proceed taking treatment for all times. 

With hyperthyroidism, there isn’t any single therapy that works for everybody, as therapy will depend upon what’s inflicting your hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is commonly handled with medication or surgical procedure to take away half, or most of, the thyroid gland. Like hypothyroidism, when you begin taking treatment, it’s seemingly that you will want to proceed taking treatment for all times.

Key Takeaway
Thyroid illness signs can negatively affect your high quality of life, however with the correct therapy and plan of care, individuals can stay a standard life.


For those who suspect you’ll have a thyroid illness, schedule an appointment together with your major care doctor. Our “Find a Doctor” device will help you discover a Dignity Well being doctor close to you.


Meet Scott McCusker, MD

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