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Truth about hyperthyroidism

By CHARINA L. ECHALUCE

There are people who envy those with hyperthyroidism as they believe that this health disorder spares the latter from gaining weight, but medical experts said that their condition is not something to be envious at.

Dr. Juan Carlo Dayrit, one of ManilaMed’s endocrinologists, made some clarifications to raise awareness and correct the myths and misconceptions surrounding hyperthyroidism and its “evil twin” hypothyroidism.

Dayrit said the notions about hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are incorrect, and there is a need to dispel the myths surrounding these disorders, especially during the Christmas Season when myths about these conditions spread more wildly.

Hyperthyroidism is so poorly understood that many people, women in particular, envy those who have it because they think that people with this condition never become overweight, which is myth number one, he said.

“Yes, hyperthyroidism make you hypermetabolic, but it also makes you eat more. So as long you eat in excess of what you burn, then you gain weight,” he said.

The most dangerous myth about hyperthyroidism, though, is that it has no consequences other than keeping a person from gaining excess weight.

“It will make staying thin easier but it can adversely affect the heart. Those with enlarged hearts at a prematurely young age often have the condition because of hyperthyroidism. It is not unusual for those with hyperthyroidism to have osteoporosis by the time they are 50,” Dayrit stated.

“These are just some of the complications of hyperthyroidism,” he warned.

Unluckily, the treatment for the said condition is not easy.

“Treatment for hyperthyroidism is not as easy, there are tablets, but often these aren’t enough, and more radical measures such as radiation and even surgery may be required,” Dayrit explained.

Hypothyroidism, on the other hand, is considered the “evil twin” of as it is to “doom” a person to be overweight no matter how diligently they diet or how rigorously they exercise.

“Not all people with hypothyroidism are obese, but Hypothyroidism makes you hypometabolic, which means that your body burns less food than what you’re supposed to burn in 24 hours. So if your food intake is constant or even increasing, the result is you become overweight or even obese,” Dayrit stated.

“If you suffer from hypothyroidism and are in fact overweight or obese, then you should correct the hypothyroidism. Diet and exercise will not work as they should until you correct the disorder,” he added.

There is a “good news,” though, the doctor said.

“Hypothyroidism is very easy, very convenient, very cheap to treat. There are no hopeless cases. As long as the patient is taking the medications, he or she should be euthyroid [normal thyroid function] again. It’s very cheap. One tablet a day, in the morning, one tablet costs P10 to P15. As long as you’re taking it, hypothyroidism, even severe hypothyroidism, can be managed,” he said.

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