Common Symptoms of Hyper & Hypothyroidism
An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can cause a wide range of symptoms, although it’s unlikely you’ll experience all of them.
The symptoms may develop gradually or suddenly. For some people they’re mild, but for others they can be severe and significantly affect their life.
Symptoms of an overactive thyroid can include:
- nervousness, anxiety and irritability
- hyperactivity – you may find it hard to stay still and have a lot of nervous energy
- mood swings
- difficulty sleeping
- feeling tired all the time
- sensitivity to heat
- muscle weakness
- needing to pee more often than usual
- persistent thirst
- loss of interest in sex
An overactive thyroid can also cause the following physical signs:
- a swelling in your neck caused by an enlarged thyroid gland (goitre)
- an irregular and/or unusually fast heart rate (palpitations)
- twitching or trembling
- warm skin and excessive sweating
- red palms of your hands
- loose nails
- a raised, itchy rash – known as hives (urticaria)
- patchy hair loss or thinning
- weight loss – often despite an increased appetite
- eye problems, such as redness, dryness or vision problems (see complications of an overactive thyroid)
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if you have symptoms or signs of an overactive thyroid. It might be useful to make a list of all your symptoms and show it to a primary care provider.
These symptoms and signs can have a number of causes. But a blood test can often help to determine whether they’re caused by a thyroid problem.
Hypothyroidism happens when the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone.
This condition also is called underactive thyroid. Hypothyroidism may not cause noticeable symptoms in its early stages. Over time, hypothyroidism that isn’t treated can lead to other health problems, such as high cholesterol and heart problems.
Blood tests are used to diagnose hypothyroidism. Treatment with thyroid hormone medicine usually is simple, safe and effective once you and your health care provider find the right dosage for you.
Symptoms of an underactive thyroid can include:
- More sensitivity to cold
- Dry skin
- Weight gain
- Puffy face
- Hoarse voice
- Coarse hair and skin
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
- Menstrual cycles that are heavier than usual or irregular
- Thinning hair
- Slowed heart rate, also called bradycardia
- Memory problems
When to see a doctor
See your health care provider if you’re feeling tired for no reason or if you have other symptoms of hypothyroidism.
If you’re taking thyroid hormone medicine for hypothyroidism, follow your health care provider’s advice on how often you need medical appointments. At first, you may need regular appointments to make sure you’re receiving the right dose of medicine. Over time, you may need checkups so that your health care provider can monitor your condition and medicine.