Hypothyroidism is one of the most common conditions. Although thyroid’s function is not so well known to everyone, its value is very important for overall health. What kind of myths and truths lie behind this disease?
Hypothyroidism means that the thyroid gland is under-functioning
Fact. The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland in the lower part of the neck. Its main action is the production of thyroid hormones, which have many and very important actions, such as energy production, development and operation of all the basic operating systems of body. Hypothyroidism means that the thyroid gland shows decreased production of thyroid hormones.
Men suffer more often from thyroiditis than women
Myth. Thyroiditis occurs more often among women. Increased frequency occurs after 50 years after menopause and during pregnancy. However, they can appear independently at all ages.
Increased feeling of cold is a common symptom of hypothyroidism
Fact. Strenuous fatigue, numbness, bradycardia and increased cold feeling are common symptoms of hypothyroidism due to inadequate production of thyroid hormones. Weight gain until the time of diagnosis is too low and is not a cause of obesity. At an early stage, the symptoms are quite general, but gradually they become more specific, indicating and pointing the existence of hypothyroidism.
The most common cause of hypothyroidism is medication
Myth. When someone suffers from an autoimmune disease, then the immune system attacks and destroys even healthy cells. Hashimoto’s disease as well as other autoimmune diseases are the main causes of hypothyroidism. Other causes include thyroid ablation, radiation therapy as well as decreased iodine intake through diet.
Hypothyroidism can be diagnosed with blood tests
Fact. Hypothyroidism is initially difficult to diagnose as its symptoms indicate many other different pathological conditions. However, blood test is the only way to assess thyroid function as well as assess thyroid hormone production (increased TSH and decreased T4 and T3). Along with the blood test, physical examination also takes place in order to identify other symptoms and signs such as hair loss and dry skin.
Hypothyroidism, if left untreated, has no health complications
Myth. Untreated hypothyroidism can lead to cardiovascular disease. The reason is that deregulation of thyroid hormones leads to increased levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) in the blood, which leads to atherosclerosis.
Hypothyroidism can be controlled by appropriate medication
Fact. Individuals with hypothyroidism should receive daily thyroid hormone replacement therapy. On initiation of medication, the symptoms recede and body returns to the previous state. From person to person, the dosage of drug may differ, in order to meet someone’s body needs. Smaller doses than required keep body in deprivation of thyroid hormone, while overdose leads instead to drug hyperthyroidism.
Hypothyroidism can be prevented through proper nutrition and exercise
Myth. There is no way to prevent the occurrence of hypothyroidism. Proper and timely diagnosis is the best treatment. Typically, thyroid function is tested once a year. If there are symptoms that indicates the existence of hypothyroidism, it is advisable to contact your doctor.
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