Nearly 42 million people in India suffer from thyroid disorders. Despite this huge number, there are numerous myths and misinformation surrounding thyroid disease, which leads to confusion about how to recognize the disease.
In fact, the butterfly-shaped endocrine gland remains one of the most misunderstood parts of the body. So it’s no surprise that people delay the diagnosis and treatment of the condition.
January is observed as Thyroid Awareness Month. To mark this month, we’re debunking 5 common thyroid myths!
Myth 1: The symptoms of a thyroid condition are obvious, hence is easy to get diagnosed
You may have thyroid disease but not have any symptoms. In fact, the symptoms can be subtle and easily overlooked. Weight gain or loss, lethargy, constipation or diarrhea, irregular periods, and other symptoms are typical of thyroid disease but can also be caused by other medical conditions.
Due to the subtleties and overlap, it can be tricky to diagnose thyroid disease. Your best bet to keep track of your thyroid health and hormone levels is a thyroid panel test. It is a simple blood test that can identify thyroid problems before symptoms occur.
Myth 2: Only women get diagnosed with Thyroid conditions
While it is true that far more women develop an underactive thyroid than men, it is not uncommon for men to be diagnosed with hypothyroidism.
If you’re healthy, both men and women should get their thyroid function tested every five years. However, if you are a man with a family history of hypothyroidism, do not ignore the possibility of developing the condition.
You may need to get tested more often depending on the presence of risk factors (like being female, having an age over 60 years, family history, or having an autoimmune disease).
If you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, get tested once every two to three months for the first year till the hormone levels stabilize and treatment is optimized. After this, an annual check will suffice unless you develop new symptoms or experience reappearance of any old symptom.
Myth 3: You can’t eat cruciferous vegetables if you have a thyroid disorder.
Cruciferous vegetables, which include broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and kale, have been thought to interfere with how your thyroid uses iodine. Iodine plays a role in hormone production in the thyroid gland. The truth is, you can and should eat these veggies.
Myth 4: You should take iodine supplements if you have an underactive thyroid.
While iodine deficiency is one cause of hypothyroidism, if you are not iodine-deficient, there is no need to take iodine supplements, commonly known as kelp supplements.
Myth 5: People with thyroid disorders need to be on special diets.
Altering your food won't heal your thyroid disease, nor will it be the sole cause of its development. That being said, there are definitely healthy foods you can add to your diet that contain nutrients and supplements that help your thyroid. Like any other person, maintaining a well balanced and nutritious diet will not only help you feel better but also promote a healthy body.
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