6 Myths about hypothyroidism I learned while living with it for 7 years
Myth 1: Thyroid makes you gain weight!
If you like me have a hypothyroid condition, chances are a number of people must have already told you that you would not be able to lose weight and have cabbage for life! Right?
What if I told you that it's not true! Yes, that's right. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism when I was trying for a baby and you won't believe it that my thyroid was not letting me conceive. I had discussed this issue in my previous post on thyroid and fertility.
Today my daughter is 6-years-old and after living with thyroid for the last seven years I have come across numerous myths and false stories associated with the disease. Here I discuss with you the most common ones:
1. You will have no control over your weight
This is an absolute lie and let me tell you that I also fell for it in the beginning. But after years of struggle, reading, and discussions with experts, I came to know that thyroid like any lifestyle disease can be easily managed by following a healthy lifestyle.
"Hypothyroidism can be managed effectively by taking the right medicines. Early morning walks and light exercise in sunlight exercises the muscles and exposes your skin to the early morning sun, allowing your body to make vitamin D naturally. Taking your medicines on time, eating healthy and exercising just when the sun's up is key to managing your weight issues," says alternative medicine practitioner Dr Jonathan D'Souza.
Same goes for your weight. Hypothyroidism has nothing to do with your weight gain and if you're going for regular checkups and are having your prescribed dosage of medicine, you can control your weight gain.
So, if you've stopped exercising because you have it, then let me tell you that it's time to put your fitness shoes on. And, if you're thinking it is not doable, don't worry it can be managed. Six years after the birth of my daughter, I have lost 16 kilos just by following a healthy diet and regular exercise.
2.You can stop your dosage whenever you feel like
Knowing the right thyroid medicine dosage for you is key and that can only be determined after getting your thyroid profile blood tests such as T3, T4, and TSH and then getting them analysed by a thyroid specialist.
Once you've visited the doctor and got the right dosage it is normally advised to get your checkup and blood tests done again in 6 months for the first couple of times and then yearly after that.
Thyroid medicine is best taken on an empty stomach and you should wait for an hour at least before eating anything.
Each time you get your tests done and by chance, if you come to know that your TSH levels have decreased, you CANNOT stop your medicine or decrease the dosage as per your liking. Always remember that this can only be done by a doctor and that too one who is qualified to diagnose thyroid illnesses.
3. You can go to any doctor for treatment advice
Going to a general physician or any doctor for that matter will do you more harm than good. If you are suffering from hypothyroidism like me you should only go to a thyroid disease specialist, also known as an endocrinologist.
Hypo or hyperthyroidism is a disorder of the endocrine glands and only a specialist who has thoroughly studied hormonal conditions knows the best possible treatments, even when conventional treatments do not work well.
Unlike a family doctor or general practitioner, an endocrinologist studies hormones and hormonal diseases in depth and it goes without saying that he would provide you with the best possible treatment.
4. You should not include cabbage in your diet
5. If you have a thyroid problem, you will come to know
Eight years back, I was putting on weight like never before, but like everyone else in India thinks, I also thought that it's because I just got married and because of my unruly lifestyle, thanks to being in the media.
Sadly, like many diseases, there are quite a few symptoms of hypothyroidism that seldom go noticed such as weight gain, lethargy, and fatigue.
Some significant weight gain signs for hypothyroidism could be; your rings do not fit you anymore, your clothes are tight and seem to be ripping off the bustline and, more importantly, your face and eyes, in particular, look puffy every morning.
Similarly, if you're tired because you partied consecutively for the last couple of days, it's fine. But if you generally feel lethargic and feel tired after taking one round of your neighborhood mall, it could be a strong indication.
6. You can skip your thyroid medicine and deal with it through lifestyle modifications
We normally see on many TV channels that lifestyle diseases can be controlled through a few modifications in your everyday life.
I agree with them, however, that does not mean that once you've made these changes you can stop taking your medications. NO, never. Never ever change your dosage or stop your thyroid medicine without consulting your doctor.
Always remember, a healthy lifestyle should not be a choice, it has to be a way of life, just like you need to eat and breathe. Exercising and eating right would definitely help keep your hypothyroidism in check.
If you have similar experiences to share with me and our readers, we'd love to hear from you! Do drop in your thoughts in the comment box :)