Few people know what their thyroid does and even fewer people know about the conditions that can plague it. Unfortunately, this can result in a few well-intended, but off-putting comments to those with a thyroid condition. Whether you know very little or nothing at all about thyroid disease, here are a few things you should never say to a thyroid patient!
- “We’re all tired sometimes.” or “I’m tired, too!” or “You just need to get more sleep.”
The thyroid is responsible for the body’s metabolism and thyroid disease, specifically hypothyroidism, causes it to slow down resulting in severe fatigue/exhaustion. Taking a nap or getting more sleep won’t relieve this kind of tiredness.
- “If you dieted (or exercised more), that extra weight would just fall right off.”
Again, because the thyroid is responsible for the body’s metabolism, hypothyroidism causes many individuals to gain weight or experience weight retention. While certain dietary changes may be in order, caloric restriction can actually worsen the problem. As for exercise, the fatigue can actually be exacerbated by strenuous exercise. Therefore, those with a thyroid condition should speak with their physician before engaging in a new workout routine – check out our workout tips for thyroid patients here.
- “Don’t you take medicine for that? You should be fine now!”
Thyroid medication doesn’t magically make the symptoms disappear. Due to improper testing and treatment guidelines, many patients suffer with debilitating symptoms while on thyroid treatment! Learn more about why levothyroxine doesn’t work for many thyroid patients here.
- “Get well soon!” or “I hope you feel better tomorrow!”
While that is a nice thing to say, it doesn’t work in this situation. Thyroid disease is considered a chronic disease and one that the person will have to deal with for the rest of their life.
- “It’s all in your head.”
This comment is often used by physicians as an excuse to dismiss a patient or prescribe an anti-depressant without looking for an underlying cause. The number of symptoms associated with thyroid disease is astronomical because the thyroid affects every part of the body so many of the symptoms can seem unrelated or even unbelievable to an individual that isn’t knowledgeable in thyroid disease and proper diagnosing (symptoms should play a role in the diagnosing process).
If your friend or family member is experiencing hypothyroid symptoms or has been diagnosed with thyroid disease, you should do your best to support them. That means encouraging them and learning all you can about their condition.