Comparing Thyroid Symptoms to a Viral Infection

Written by jane amar
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Comparing Thyroid Symptoms to a Viral Infection
Is it a virus or a thyroid problem? (Virus image by Denis Makarov from

Thyroid symptoms can reflect an overactive or underactive thyroid or thyroid cancer. Symptoms vary by condition. Virus infections cause many different illnesses, including the common cold, influenza and viral meningitis. Each illness has a slightly different set of symptoms.

Hyperthyroidsim and Viruses Common Symptoms

Hyperthyroidism symptoms in common with viral illnesses symptoms are fatigue, changes in bowel movements and red eyes. Meningitis and hyperthyroidism both cause light sensitivity.

Hyperthyroidism and Virus Symptom Contrasted

Cold and virus infections produce fevers, coughs, sore throats, headaches and body aches, not present in hyperthyroidism. Viral meningitis causes high fever, severe headache, nausea and vomiting; none are symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

Hypothyroidism Symptoms Common to Virus Infections

Hypothyroidism symptoms include fatigue, sluggishness, paleness, muscle and joint aches and hoarseness. Cold and flu virus infections also cause generalised fatigue and body aches. The cough and sore throat can cause hoarseness. A sick person may be sluggish and look pale.

Contrasting Hypothyroidism and Virus Infection Symptoms

Hypothyroidism does not cause the fevers, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, sneezing or headaches of colds, flu and meningitis. Colds and flu do not create weight gain, sensitivity to cold or the elevated cholesterol of hypothyroidism.

Thyroid Cancer Symptoms Versus Viral Infections

Thyroid cancer symptoms include lumps in the neck, hoarseness, swallowing difficulty, neck and throat pain and swollen lymph nodes. Cold and flu viruses also cause sore throats and possibly hoarseness from coughs. Cancer does not cause the fevers, headaches, sneezing, runny noses, diarrhoea or vomiting common to cold and flu bugs, or the stiff neck and light sensitivity of viral meningitis.

The Big Symptom

The biggest difference between thyroid disorders and viral infections is recovery time. Colds, flu or viral meningitis symptoms (as opposed to the more deadly bacterial meningitis) last for one to two weeks. Thyroid problems usually continue and worsen, causing more serious problems.

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