According to the American Thyroid Association, around 60% of those with thyroid disease don’t know they have it. Moreover, there are numerous myths surrounding the thyroid disease which further leads to confusion and delays the diagnosis and treatment of the condition. So here we bust some of the common myths related to thyroid disease to spread awareness about the condition.
Myth: You’ll need Iodine supplements for thyroid disease.
Fact: Don’t take Iodine supplements without consulting your doctor. Iodine deficiency may or may not be the reason of your thyroid disease. Taking Iodine supplements may worsen your condition if you have hyperthyroidism.
Myth: If you have thyroid, your eyes will bulge.
Fact: This is not always true. The bulging of the eyes is often due to Graves’ disease, which is the most common form of hyperthyroidism. Other eye problems linked to Graves’ disease include double vision, dry eyes and swollen eyelids. Avoid smoking as it increases the risk of developing Graves’ disease.
Myth: Hypothyroid patients should not eat cabbage, cauliflower, etc.
Fact: You can eat all vegetables but in moderation. You can moderate the quantity and mix them with other vegetables. Moreover, cooking or steaming diminishes the goitrogenic effect of the vegetables. Hence, do not consume raw vegetables, and cook or steam them before use.
Myth: You should eat a gluten-free diet if you have hypothyroidism.
Fact: Gluten-free diet is advisable only for patients who have autoimmune thyroid disease or thyroid associated with other autoimmune diseases like Celiac disease.
Myth: If you have a thyroid nodule, then you must have cancer.
Fact: Developing a thyroid nodule does not mean it is cancerous. Most of these nodules are benign and harmless. Doctors find cancer in fewer than 5% of thyroid nodules.
Myth: It is impossible to lose weight in hypothyroidism.
Fact: The truth is that losing weight can be hard for everyone, especially if you are in your late 30s and early 40s. At this age, the metabolism slows down and you put on weight. These challenges are similar for people undergoing proper thyroid treatment as well as others who try to lose weight and don’t have thyroid.
Myth: Thyroid medicines can’t be taken when you are pregnant.
Fact: Not true. Without treatment, thyroid disorders can result in serious complications during pregnancy, including miscarriage, preeclampsia, preterm delivery, and developmental issues in fetus. Women should take proper and pregnancy safe thyroid medication with due consultation with their doctors.
Myth: Goitre and thyroid nodules are the same.
Fact: No, goitre and thyroid nodules are not the same thing. Thyroid nodules are lumps in thyroid gland while goitre is termed as overall enlargement of the thyroid gland. Goitre can be caused by one or two nodules.
Myth: High TSH values mean I have a thyroid disorder.
Fact: Not just high, both high and low values of TSH mean you have thyroid disease. Thyroid Stimulating Test is a blood test done for screening of thyroid dysfunction. High TSH values mean your thyroid is unable to make enough thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism). Your TSH values may drop to zero if there is too much thyroid hormone secretion (hyperthyroidism).
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)