Contributed by: Healthians Team
Millions of people suffer from hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), a condition in which the thyroid gland produces insufficient thyroid hormone. Although hypothyroidism is a common health issue, many people are unaware of the condition’s telltale signs and facts.
People believe that because they have thyroid issues, they should expect fatigue and weight gain. They frequently attribute a wide range of symptoms to the thyroid, despite the fact that they are most likely unrelated.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism
It helps to understand the symptoms of hypothyroidism to manage the illness better. Symptoms can vary from person to person — and most of them go undiscussed. Possible hypothyroidism symptoms to look for include:
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Dry skin and hair
- Brittle, thin hair, and fingernails
- Hoarse voice
If an underactive thyroid is left untreated for a long time, it can result in poor quality of life, pregnancy complications, low libido, and other health problems such as heart disease and depression. Moreover, additional symptoms can set in, including:
- Puffiness in the face, hands, and feet
- Decreased sense of taste and smell
- Slow speech
- Thickening of the skin
- Thinning of the eyebrows
When hypothyroidism – when your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone, is properly treated, many symptoms of hypothyroidism may be reversed. Time to learn the truth about these common hypothyroidism myths to get started.
Myth #1: Only women suffer from hyperthyroidism
Hypothyroidism can affect both men and women. There is a misconception that it is only a female ailment, which is untrue. It is a fact that women are more prone to malfunction of the thyroid than men, nevertheless, it can happen to anyone, irrespective of gender.
Although millions of men experience thyroid dysfunction, women are five to eight times more likely than males to suffer thyroid disorders. So men should be aware that they aren’t entirely immune to hormonally triggered hypothyroidism and its risks.
Myth #2: Only older people get hyperthyroidism
Hypothyroidism is more frequent after the age of 60, but it can affect anyone at any age. Despite the fact that the chances of developing an underactive thyroid increase with age, hypothyroidism can strike at any age, but the symptoms may vary.
Hypothyroidism is more common in young women during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Also, young people with a family history of autoimmune diseases or who have Down syndrome, Turner syndrome, Type 1 diabetes, or Celiac disease are also at higher risk of developing hypothyroidism.
Myth #3: I’d know if I had hyperthyroidism
The lack of any symptoms can make it more challenging to detect. According to the American Thyroid Association, almost 60% of persons with thyroid disease go undetected. You may not notice hypothyroidism symptoms for months or even years.
Furthermore, the symptoms of underactive thyroid in some persons take longer to manifest and aren’t always clinically detectable. It’s also easy to confuse hypothyroidism’s frequent symptoms, as mentioned above, with those of another ailment. Thyroid nodules are often found incidentally by the doctor during neck imaging for other conditions.
Myth #4: It’s impossible to lose weight with hypothyroidism
Not really! If hypothyroidism is adequately treated it can be easy to lose weight and also lessen the severity of the condition. Losing weight may be difficult for anyone, especially in your late 30s and early 40s when your metabolism slows and kilos can add on.
While it is true that an underactive thyroid causes the body to retain fluid, which leads to swelling and extra kilos, yet you should not have a hard time losing weight if your thyroid hormone dosage is correct. Consuming a healthy diet, controlled portion sizes, and regular physical activity — are key components to losing weight for people with hypothyroidism.
Myth #5: Hypothyroidism means constant fatigue
Fatigue isn’t a specific symptom of hypothyroidism, but it’s a common one. Feelings of tiredness and fatigue are typical complaints among hypothyroid patients, but it’s also a common problem among non-hypothyroid patients. Fatigue and a lack of energy are two early indications of hypothyroidism caused by a sluggish metabolism.
Your energy levels should return to normal once you’ve been fully treated. If you’re still tired despite getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising, it is important to get your thyroid hormone levels checked.
Myth #6: You can’t take thyroid medication during pregnancy
Expecting moms should necessarily take thyroid medicine to treat hypothyroidism. Uncontrolled hypothyroidism can cause major consequences during pregnancy if left untreated, including miscarriage, premature delivery, and child developmental problems.
Taking the synthetic thyroid hormone thyroxine to treat hypothyroidism is safe during pregnancy. A few studies indicate that children whose mothers didn’t have enough thyroid hormone during pregnancy have lower IQs.
Although managing hypothyroidism effectively has its challenges, it is a very treatable condition. The first step for a hypothyroidism diagnosis is generally an appointment with a primary care physician or an endocrinologist, who will order a blood test to check the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).