5 Common Thyroid Myths Debunked

thyroid myths

Despite much advancement in our perception about thyroid, its functions, and diseases associated with it, there remain many misunderstandings and myths about thyroid. These facts and myths about thyroid stand rock-steady in properly understanding about it and accurately diagnosing and treating hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism-the common ailments of the thyroid. 

Being aware of what are myths and what are facts can help us be more careful in safeguarding this butterfly-shaped key gland of our body as there is an increasing number of people suffering from one form or the other form of thyroid disorder. Probably what you thought are the facts these many days could either be or could not be too.

Thyroid Myths, Debunked

Myth #1: The thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels are normal if they’re in the standard range

A “standard” TSH is dependent on your age, the reference range which your physician is using, and also other thyroid function tests conducted regarding the TSH results.

Besides, there are many controversies regarding what should be taken as “standard” in TSH testing (the quantity of TSH in the blood sample). Whilst many laboratories in America consider TSH between 0.5 milliunits per liter (mU/L) and 4.5 to 5 mU/Las being normal, rest of them classify that the upper limit must be nearer to 2.5 mIU/L which means that majority people are suffering from hypothyroidism. All these only add to the confusion. 

To have a more realistic picture, the TSH should be calculated based on the amount of thyroid hormones stimulated, i.e., T4 and T3, in addition to other symptoms and medical history.

Myth #2: One will only get symptoms if the TSH is outside the normal range

Signs and symptoms can even appear even if the TSH levels are standard & are on totally optimized treatment.

When your thyroid lab report is studied the TSH levels will be considered dependent on its position in the reference range. The reference range consists of the low and high values amidst which the TSH would be taken as normal. High TSH values relate to low thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism), while low TSH values correlate to high thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism).

This suggests that a TSH that’s within the standard range indicates that the thyroid gland is performing normally which is in many cases true.

Nevertheless, a TSH test gives only an overview of overall health.

Myth #3: Hypothyroidism can only be treated with a drug called Synthroid

Many other options can be used such as drugs in combination with Synthroid or drugs completely as alone. 

Few people consider Synthroid as the only drug for hypothyroidism which may not be true many times. There are many other drugs in the market which are as effective as Synthroid such as natural desiccated thyroid (NDT).

Myth #4: Hyperthyroidism leads to weight loss always

True that few people having hyperthyroidism will gain weight.

Few people trust that the thyroid problems are linked to weight issues, they believe weight gain is synonymous with hypothyroidism and weight loss is synonymous with hyperthyroid. However, these two may be true but at the same time, they needn’t always be true. There could be many other reasons for weight loss and weight gain. 

Actually, with hypothyroidism, the weight increase is comparatively modest, normally 5 to 10 pounds. The same weight gain increases and worsens equally with the severity in condition.

This simply says that few people will not gain weight when their condition is mild whilst others will increase weight irrespective of eating less or more. All these together say that the person’s condition i.e., being obese or not before being diagnosed with thyroid will also affect the situation. 

The same hyperthyroidism with the increased thyroid hormones secretion can increase metabolism and lead to unexpected weight loss. Although this doesn’t indicate that everyone will experience the same. Few people can gain weight due to increased metabolism as there is increased craving to eat more and more.

Myth #5: Bulging eyes mean Graves’ disease

Whilst most of the people having Graves’ develop thyroid eye disease many do not too. 

Commonly bulging eyes are interrelated to some sort of thyroid disease normally called the thyroid-associated orbitopathy (TAO), the condition often accompanied by blurred vision, eye dryness, and double vision.

Most often TAO develops as a response to an autoimmune disorder called Graves’ disease. This situation leads to a condition wherein the immune system of the body attacks the thyroid gland, causing hyperthyroidism development.

Whilst TAO may be the common trait of Graves’ disease it isn’t that everyone with it should get it. In the same way, the presence of bulging eyes is one of the probable signs of some form of thyroid disorder in people developing TAO.

The chances and severity of TAO are influenced more by genetics, environment, smoking, aging, and the levels of thyroid dysfunction. 

Many of the TAO cases will resolve after many years and could be eased with oral steroids and artificial tears. At times if vision impairment or pain is severe surgery may be required. 

Wrapping Up

These are the 5 common myths about thyroid however; myths such as iodine deficiency lead to thyroid dysfunctions and only women get thyroid are also common myths that are as good as the above.

In fact, men falling sick due to thyroid problems are as common in men as in women. The same way iodine deficiency or increased iodine presence is just a small factor in the cause of thyroid. And it also differs from person to person. 

So stop believing all the thyroid myths blindly and dig into facts so that you don’t suffer blindly like many. One form or the other thyroid problem is a common problem but isn’t incurable. Most of the facts that are circulating are mere myths. Believe in the fact that same as diabetes there are many factors under play for thyroid issues that differ from person to person. 

Hope we have tried our best to debunk thyroid myths. In case we missed out something let us know in comments and we shall debunk your thyroid myths.