By: Brian Syuk
You may know that women have a higher risk of thyroid disease than men. You may also know that your thyroid gland releases hormones—triiodothyronine and thyroxine—that regulate body temperature, digestion and metabolism. Along with these facts, you probably believe some myths about the thyroid problems.
Unfortunately, some of these thyroid myths can harm your health. To help you separate fact from fiction, I’ve compiled a list of the most common myths about thyroid problems that need to be debunked.
MYTH #1: YOU CAN SELF-DIAGNOSE THYROID DISEASE.
Many people will claim to have thyroid disease—hypothyroidism—if they’re gaining weight or feeling tired all the time. The truth is, these symptoms could be signs of many other conditions.
Even the tests from healthcare providers are not straightforward. Professionals seem to disagree about test result levels and when people need treatment. Realize that thyroid disease is a complex condition, and sometimes you may need to see another doctor for a second opinion.
MYTH #2: YOU CAN’T LOSE WEIGHT WITH HYPOTHYROIDISM.
Hypothyroidism slows down metabolism and makes you prone to weight gain, but this doesn’t mean that people with hypothyroidism can’t lose weight. They often can.
Research shows people can lose weight even if they have bad genes and slow metabolism by simply changing their habits and environment. Therefore, don’t give up on your weight because you have hypothyroidism.
MYTH #3: EVERYONE WITH THYROID DISEASE NEEDS MORE IODINE.
Iodine plays a vital role in the production of thyroid hormones. That’s why people with severe iodine deficiency have a higher risk of hypothyroidism and goiter.
However, not everyone with thyroid disease needs to increase iodine intake. Only those with iodine deficiency can boost thyroid function by increasing iodine intake, researchshows.
Eat more sea veggies to get enough iodine. Keep in mind that too much iodine can have a negative effect on your thyroid health.
MYTH #4: HYPERTHYROIDISM ALWAYS MAKES YOU LOSE WEIGHT.
People with hyperthyroidism have a faster metabolism, and that’s why this condition has been linked to weight loss. But you can still gain weight with an overactive thyroid if you have poor eating habits.
MYTH #5: A THYROID NODULE MEANS YOU HAVE THYROID CANCER.
It’s estimated that 75 percent of the population will have thyroid nodules during the course of their lifetime. Most times, there’s no need to panic when you develop a thyroid nodule, since only less than one percent are cancerous.
You should be worried if the thyroid nodule is accompanied by thyroid cancer symptomssuch as voice changes, trouble swallowing and pain in the front of the neck.
MYTH #6: YOUR EYES WILL BULGE IF YOU HAVE THYROID DISEASE.
Grave’s disease, which is the most common type of hyperthyroidism, causes eye bulging, especially in smokers. However, only 25 to 30 percent of patients experience eye-related symptoms.
MYTH #7: PREGNANT WOMEN HAVE TO GIVE UP THYROID MEDICATION.
While there are many medications pregnant women should cut back on, thyroid medication is usually not one of them. With that said, it’s advisable for pregnant women to talk to a doctor before taking any medication.