Common Misconceptions About Hypothyroidism

How well do you understand hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is a disease in which your thyroid gland produces insufficient thyroid hormones to control how your body burns calories and stores energy properly. But, honestly, how much do you know about it? It may be tough to separate truth from fiction with so much information available.

Myth #1: Hypothyroidism only happens to adults.

Truth: Hypothyroidism is occasionally detected in babies and youngsters. They have many of the same symptoms as adults, but they may also be experiencing developmental and growth delays. Infants must be treated, according to the Mayo Clinic, since even a moderate case may cause a delay in their growth and development, as well as serious intellectual impairments.

Myth #2: If you have hypothyroidism, you will immediately notice that anything is wrong.

Truth: The symptoms of an underactive thyroid may take a long time to manifest in many individuals. They may also seem ambiguous enough that you’re unsure if anything is amiss or whether you’re just experiencing typical aging or stress symptoms. Fatigue, dry skin, constipation, raised cholesterol levels, weight gain, muscular pains, joint discomfort, hoarseness, increased sensitivity to cold, a swollen face, and a slower heart rate are all common hypothyroidism symptoms. Muscle weakness, thinning hair, and depression are all common side effects.

Myth #3: Hypothyroidism has no effect on your heart or circulatory system.

Truth: While it may seem that thyroid hormone levels have little effect on your cardiovascular system, low thyroid hormone levels may cause issues such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Myth #4: People with hypothyroidism should avoid all soy-based foods.

Truth: Soy should not be entirely avoided, but it should be used with care. Don’t eat soy on a regular basis since it may interfere with your body’s capacity to absorb hormone replacement medicine; it’s also a good idea to wait several hours after taking your hormone replacement medication before eating edamame or drinking that soymilk latte. Although iodine insufficiency is uncommon in the United States, soy users with hypothyroidism should ensure that their iodine consumption is sufficient.

Myth #5: Taking a synthetic thyroid hormone has the potential to cause serious adverse effects.

Truth: While it’s always possible to have adverse effects from taking medicine, the odds of this happening are low. It’s likely that your levothyroxine dose isn’t appropriate for you if you suffer side symptoms like increased hunger, heart palpitations, or sleeplessness. Request a retest of your thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels from your doctor.

Myth #6: Hypothyroidism affects just women.

Truth: Women are much more likely than males to acquire hypothyroidism, with women over 60 having the greatest risk of getting an underactive thyroid. Younger women and men, on the other hand, may be able to develop it.

Myth #7: Taking thyroid hormone therapy when pregnant is dangerous.

Truth: Taking the synthetic thyroid hormone thyroxine while pregnant is completely safe. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, thyroxine supplements the T4 that your thyroid no longer produces—or produces insufficiently—and is critical for your baby’s growth. Your doctor will evaluate your thyroid function every six to eight weeks throughout your pregnancy to ensure you’re getting the correct dose.

Myth #8: If your thyroid is underactive, avoid broccoli.

Truth: You don’t have to give up broccoli or its cruciferous relatives, cauliflower, and kale if you’re a broccoli lover. You may have heard that you should avoid these vegetables because they contain glucosinolate, a chemical that may interfere with thyroid function. They have so many health advantages that it’s OK to consume them on a regular basis, but not every day. Instead of eating them raw, try gently roasting them.

Myth #9: If the medicine isn’t working to manage your hypothyroidism, surgery may be an alternative.

Truth:: There’s no need to operate on your thyroid gland; it’ll make things worse. In reality, removing the thyroid gland is a therapeutic option for an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) rather than an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). The usual therapy for hypothyroidism is to take a daily dosage of levothyroxine, a synthetic hormone that replaces the thyroid hormone that your thyroid gland doesn’t produce. The benefits start to show after a few weeks, but your doctor may need to play around with the dose to ensure you’re receiving the right amount.

Myth #10: Once you have hypothyroidism, you will never feel like yourself again.

Truth: Once you’re on the right dosage of levothyroxine to make up for the hormone your thyroid isn’t making, your hypothyroidism symptoms should go away, and you’ll start to feel better. If you miss a dosage of this oral medicine, you may experience symptoms of hypothyroidism again. Continue to take the synthetic hormone to keep your symptoms under control.

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