Health topic

Image by Freepik logo

Symptoms of Hyperfunction and Hypofunction - Impaired Thyroid Function

endocrine system

thyroid gland

organs and systems

The thyroid gland is an integral part of the endocrine system. This butterfly-shaped organ regulates important hormones that affect many functions in your body. These hormones also affect how well your body performs physically and mentally, so symptoms can manifest in many different ways.

What is the thyroid gland

It may be small in size, but the butterfly-shaped gland, which is located in the neck area, has indispensable health functions. Your thyroid gland is responsible for producing thyroid hormone (TH), which regulates, among other things, the body's temperature, metabolism, and heart rate. 

Things can start to go wrong when the thyroid gland is with hyper or hypofunction due to various factors. If it is with decreased function - hypofunction, when it produces too little TH; Alternatively, if it has an increased function - hyperfunction, then it produces too much of this hormone. In addition, other hormones, such as LH, FSH, as well as antibody levels, also serve as a comprehensive factors of the actual condition.

But what makes your thyroid gland out of balance? The factors may be genetic, autoimmune processes may take place in the body. Impaired thyroid function can also occur during pregnancy, stress, nutritional deficiencies or accumulation of toxins in the environment. And while the hypofunction tends to attract more attention among scientists, there's also the opposite situation where we're talking about an overactive thyroid. It should also be taken into account, since the effects of an overactive thyroid gland are related to weight, overall hormonal background, reproductive abilities, ability to concentrate, memory and others.

Hyperfunction and hypofunction - two sides of an impaired thyroid function

10 signs of hyperthyroidism

Image by Freepik

Image by Freepik

As mentioned, hyperthyroidism is an overactive thyroid. When this happens, the body produces an excess of thyroid hormones, such as triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). T4 is produced specifically when the pituitary gland secretes thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Here are the signs that your thyroid is working at an elevated speed and producing abnormally high levels of thyroid hormones:  [Ref. 1] 

Nervousness and anxiety  - When the thyroid gland works excessively, hormones tell the body to work even harder. This leads to several symptoms that can make you feel nervous and anxious. But before that, these hormones lead to mood swings and racing thoughts. 

Fast heart rate (plus palpitations) - As one of the physical symptoms of high hormone levels, your heart rate may increase. An increase in heart rate can also lead to palpitations. So, if you feel that the heart is undergoing any unusual changes, be sure to seek medical attention. 

Increased sweating - Because thyroid hormones tell your body to become more active, naturally it will try to cool itself by sweating, even in less active situations when you're not physically active. 

Weight loss - Although this effect is usually sought with other methods, hyperfunction is possible, but with adverse consequences. The abundance of thyroid hormones will speed up your metabolism and appetite. Although you may notice unexplained weight loss, it can lead to dramatic and unwanted changes related to the type of skin, hair, nails, joints and muscles.

Change in peristalsis - Changes in hormone levels can even affect your digestive system. More frequent bowel movements may indicate other conditions, such as Crohn's disease or problems with gluten absorption or lactose intolerance

Goiter - Goiter occurs when the thyroid gland begins to enlarge due to the overproduction of hormones. Normally, the thyroid gland needs adequate levels of iodine, which we should get from the diet. However, if you do not have enough iodine, your body will try to compensate for what is missing, and the thyroid gland will enlarge. If you develop a goiter, you should take iodine supplements after consulting a specialist to suggest other personalized medical solutions.

You should also keep in mind that Hashimoto's thyroiditis often causes goiter. It is an autoimmune disease that affects millions of people around the world, mainly women. Specifically, this disease causes inflammation and damage to the thyroid gland. As a result of Hashimoto's, the body tries to compensate by triggering thyroid growth and a host of different symptoms affecting joints, skin, hair, and other aspects.  [ref. 2] 

Hair loss and brittle nails - Hair and nails grow continuously. This is because a critical thyroid function is sending hormonal signals to trigger hair and nail growth. With hyperthyroidism, additional hormones tell your body to increase the growth of hair follicles and nails in a shorter time.

Although it seems that rapid nail growth would be a positive side effect of thyroid dysfunction, this is not the case. This forced growth is happening too quickly. As a result, your body needs to use its natural resources, which can lead to thinner and brittle hair and nails.

Sensitive skin or discoloration - Thyroid hormones also affect the health of your skin in different ways. For example, with hyperthyroidism, you may have itchy dry spots on the skin. Your face may feel softer and swollen. You may even notice swelling around your fingertips. Other symptoms include darkening of the skin, rashes and reddish spots.

Disturbed sleep or insomnia - It is quite possible that you suffer from disturbed sleep in case of excessive levels of thyroid hormones. They make your body more active than usual. For example, hormonal changes can make the nervous system hyperactive. In addition, you may experience nervousness and anxiety due to thyroid problems that also affect sleep.

Changes in the menstrual cycle - Since hyperthyroidism determines accelerated metabolism, the menstrual cycle may become shorter or begin at different times. 

10 signs of hypothyroidism

Image by Freepik

Image by Freepik

Fatigue  - First, when you develop hypothyroidism, your body produces fewer thyroid hormones, making it difficult to recover from everyday stress. As a result, you will start to feel tired more often. You may become slower and slower, you may have difficulty concentrating as mental fatigue or brain fog occurs. [ref. 3] 

Sensitivity to cold Hormones secreted by your thyroid gland also regulate body temperature. With fewer hormones, your body has difficulty warming up because your metabolism is slower.

Constipation - While hyperthyroidism speeds up the digestive process, hypothyroidism slows it down. As a result of these delayed processes, constipation often occurs. 

Dry and itchy skin - Just as overproduction of thyroid hormones leads to skin problems, a lack of these hormones also affects skin health. Skin tends to become dry, itchy and scaly, it may even wrinkle or become pale. These symptoms can also be caused by other skin diseases.

Weight gain - Thyroid problems lead to a significant slowdown in metabolism. As a result, your body begins to burn less energy and therefore stores more fat. You may find it difficult to exercise because of the fatigue that comes with hypothyroidism.

Muscle weakness - Without the stimulation of thyroid hormones, your muscles begin to lose their strength. They can even atrophy or become permanently relaxed.

Muscle aches and cramps - Likewise, your muscles can become painful and low in function. In addition, with a slower metabolism, your body uses catabolism to generate energy. Catabolism is a process that breaks down muscles and other tissues, resulting in weakness, soreness, and possibly pain.

Joint pain and edema - Catabolism also affects the joints, contributing to fatigue, pain, and even inflammation. In rheumatoid arthritis, for example, we are talking about an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the joints and causes inflammation and pain. [ref. 4] 

Abundant or irregular menstrual cycle - Unlike hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism causes the menstrual cycle to become slower and heavier. Cycles can also become less frequent.

Depression and brain fog - Among other things, with hyperfunction of SHJ, the nervous system slows down because the body can not use energy as efficiently. In combination with the feeling of fatigue, you can feel sluggish, experience mood swings and depression.

  1. What is the thyroid gland

    • Hyperfunction and hypofunction - two sides of an impaired thyroid function
      • 10 signs of hyperthyroidism

    • 10 signs of hypothyroidism


    Think you may have a thyroid disorder and have any (or several) of the listed symptoms? Ask your doctor to check thyroid hormone levels, especially if you have a family history of Graves' disease, Hashimoto's autoimmune thyroiditis, or another endocrine disorder. These symptoms may be related to other conditions, but if it is found that the cause is impaired thyroid function, measures can be taken in terms of diet, physical activity, filling nutritional deficiencies and taking medications to normalize the condition.


    1. Redirecting
    2. The Pathology of Hyperthyroidism
    3. Hypothyroidism in Context: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going - Advances in Therapy
    4. Redirecting

    The author

    Bettina Tzvetkova has a Bachelor's degree in Marketing and a Master's degree in Entrepreneurship, a fan of healthy eating, power sports and cycling. Author of over 1500 scientifically based articles, product texts and advertising materials on health topics for Bulgarian and foreign websites. 


    website logo


    About Us

    CompanyPrivacy and cookie policyTerms and conditionsHTML SitemapArticles

    © 2023. All rights reserved.