The very mention of thyroid often alarms us, but we’re here to tell you it’s a pretty common condition. About 42 million people suffer from it in India alone (1). For those who don’t know what the sickness is, hypothyroidism is an ailment that affects the production of thyroid hormones and produces less than what is required. It is a critical component that affects metabolism, cardiac disorders, cerebral functions, liver, reproductive health, fertility, and many more. Even the slightest changes in the level of the thyroid can cause significant changes in the body. People diagnosed with hypothyroidism are often misled to quack remedies that may or may not be fruitful in treating the condition. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about thyroid that need to be rectified at the earliest.
Myth 1: Coffee Will Take The Lethargy Away
One of the common symptoms of the thyroid is fatigue. People often take refuge in coffee to take the tiredness away. But tiredness is not the problem; it is a symptom. If you feel exhausted even after rest, it is probably time to get your thyroid levels checked. A simple blood test is good enough to determine if you have the disease. This is not the regular tiredness that you can drink coffee, take a rest and do some healing exercises to wear off. So make sure you consult your doctor first if the lethargy persists no matter what measures you have taken.
Myth 2: Insomnia Is Not A Symptom
If you struggle to fall asleep even after working hard all day, it is probably the doing of your hormone imbalance (2). If you are experiencing increased heart rate coupled with anxiety, it also leads to sleeplessness. If you are waking up suddenly or having trouble falling asleep on a daily basis, it is better to get your tests done for your thyroid. There are many factors that lead to insomnia but the most prevalent being hypothyroidism. If you feel like insomnia is a recurring problem, it’s time to check with your doctor.
Myth 3: You Can’t Lose Weight If You Have Thyroid
People who suffer from thyroid problems often think they can never be fit. Hypothyroidism does not mean that you cannot get into your dream body (3). By getting the proper medication and treatment, you can control the hormone imbalance easily. If you feel you are gaining weight uncontrollably, get yourself checked. Once you get the right medicine, losing weight won’t be any problem with the help of proper exercise and a good diet.
Myth 4: Extra Dose Of Thyroid Will Solve The Problem
There is a common belief that an extra dose of thyroid medication will help the lack of thyroid hormones, but that is a big no! You cannot self-prescribe drugs that directly affect your hormones. It can result in lethargy, dullness, and weight gain. Make sure you get your medicines from a doctor only.
Myth 5: A Healthy Diet Is All You Need
Of course, a healthy diet is necessary to keep fit, but if you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, correcting it with a healthy diet will not suffice. You will need to get prescribed medicines to normalize the thyroid levels, and then you can go back to regular exercise and yoga to make yourself fit again.
Myth 6: Iodine Alone Will Heal
As beneficial as it may be for your thyroid health, Iodine cannot improve your thyroid production (4). You will need to take proper medicines that balance the hormone levels, and then you can go back to a healthy diet containing all the minerals and vitamins.
Myth 7: Treating Thyroid Is A Cakewalk
Even though there is enough research done on thyroid medication and the results are impressive, thyroid treatment is not the same for every patient. The degree of hormone balance will differ from patient to patient, and hence the medication can be complex depending on the condition. Tiredness, increase in weight, weakness, and rough hair are some of the minor symptoms. But some people will lead to thyroid cancer if left ignored or untreated.
Myth 8: You Won’t Have Digestive Problems
The thyroid affects your metabolism and hence causes trouble with your digestion. If you feel constantly constipated and have gastric problems, it could be the result of a thyroid imbalance. That usually happens when your stomach’s acid production decreases, and there is a big increase in bacteria. Usually found in the intestines. You will also be more susceptible to gall bladder stones if your thyroid is serious.
Myth 9: The Symptoms Are Easy To Spot
The symptoms of thyroid are relatively common; hence it can be confused with some other ailment. Insomnia, lethargy, and slow metabolism are the common symptoms of the thyroid that match with various other conditions, too. If you feel any of these are recurring problems, you should get a blood test done.
Myth 10: Thyroid Leads To Goitre
Goiter is not the same as thyroid. It is caused by unnatural enlargement of the thyroid gland. If you feel a bulge or swelling in your neck, it might be a warning sign of goiter and needs to be checked at the first sign. However, carcinoma of the thyroid is rare, occurring in approximately 2.5 per 100,000 population (5).
Myth 11: A Lump In The Thyroid Gland Is Cancer
Only five percent of thyroid lumps actually lead to cancer (6). Even though the chances are meager, even an undetected node can be dangerous. Make sure you get it diagnosed at the earliest to treat the problem with minimal problems.
Studies prove that 67% of people who have thyroid have inherited the disease genetically (7). Though it is not a major case in many, it will cause discomfort in the long run if you don’t take care of regular blood tests. Keep your diet in check and take your medicines on time. If you have all those things in place, there is no need to feel stressed about serious thyroid issues. If you have parents who have thyroid, the chances of an imbalance are more significant, but the earlier it is detected, the better it can be treated. Make sure you discuss the symptoms with your doctor and seek proper medical help at the earliest.
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- Thyroid disorders in India: An epidemiological perspective
- Thyroid Dysfunction and Sleep Disorders
- Effects of aerobic exercise on thyroid hormonal change responses among adolescents with intellectual disabilities
- Iodine and thyroid function
- Goiter: An Approach to Management
- Evaluation of a thyroid nodule
- Genetics of Thyroid Function and Disease