The Lowdown on 10 Common Thyroid Myths

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How well do you know your thyroid, that butterfly-shaped gland that sits at the base of your neck? Chances are, a portion of what you’ve heard or read about thyroid disease may not be accurate.

Here’s the lowdown on what’s myth and fact about this important gland that regulates your metabolism.

  1. Myth: A lump or nodule in the thyroid means you have thyroid cancer
    Fact: Only five percent of thyroid nodules are cancerous.

  2. Myth: If you have a thyroid problem, you will develop a goiter (enlarged thyroid).
    Fact: The majority of people with thyroid issues do not develop goiters.

  3. Myth: All people with thyroid problems have bulging eyes. 
    Fact: Bulging eyes are just one symptom of thyroid eye disease, which is most common with hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone) and Graves’ disease (an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid). A tiny percentage of people who don’t have thyroid problems have the bulging eyes of thyroid eye disease.

  4. Myth: Only middle-aged or older women have thyroid problems. 
    Fact: Both men and women can develop a thyroid condition at any age. One in five women develop thyroid problems by age 60. Thyroid disease may affect your fertility, pregnancy or postpartum months.

  5. Myth: Thyroid problems are best diagnosed by identifying symptoms. 
    Fact:  About 60 percent of people with thyroid disease don’t know they have it. A TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) blood test, in combination with symptoms such as fatigue, weight change, muscle and joint pain, or swollen neck, helps doctors make the most accurate diagnosis of thyroid disease.

  6. Myth: Thyroid disease is easy to treat. Debunking Thyroid Myths - Small
    Fact: It’s actually quite complex in many cases and requires a number of different approaches to successfully diagnose and manage.

  7. Myth: It’s safer and more natural to treat thyroid disease with iodine or salt rather  than prescription medicine. 
    Fact: You can worsen thyroid disease by treating it with iodine. Don’t take iodine supplements without your doctor’s advice. 

  8. Myth:You can’t lose weight with hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). 
    Fact: If your dosage of medicine is effective, hypothyroidism won’t affect your ability to lose weight.

  9. Myth: Taking extra thyroid hormone will give you extra energy and make you lose weight. 
    Fact: Always take your medicine as prescribed. Too much of the medicine can create side effects such as insomnia, shakiness, increased appetite and heart palpitations.

  10. Myth: You can manage hypothyroidism with diet. 
    Fact:  Diet alone cannot regulate problems of the thyroid. Thyroid medicine helps bring hormone production to a normal level. Eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of vitamins and minerals is still important to your overall health.

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