Whenever I hear the name Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis I always get a mental image of some crazed samurai randomly attacking my thyroid gland. In reality that image is not too far off from what is actually happening.
Essentially Hashimoto’s is an auto-immune disease in which your auto immune system randomly decides that it doesn’t like the thyroid anymore and then attacks it every so often. This causes the thyroid to go crazy.
During an attack your thyroid is likely to go into overdrive occasionally causing Hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism happens when there is too much thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) being released meaning that your Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) levels are too low.
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism are as follows:
- Heat intolerance
- Increased Metabolism (This will make you more likely to lose weight and less likely to gain.)
- Frequent and or loose bowel movements
- Thinning of hair
- Change in Appetite
After an attack your thyroid shuts down and doesn’t work as well. This causes Hypothyroidism. Your thyroid becomes hypo when the thyroid is under producing the thyroid hormones (T3 and T4). This causes your body to over produce the TSH in order to try to get more T3 and T4. This is why when the vampires (lab technicians) draw blood to test your levels they look at the TSH levels. When your TSH levels are high that means that your thyroid levels are too low.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism are as follows:
- Cold Intolerance
- Decreased Metabolism
- Weight Gain and/or a significant struggle to lose weight
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Dry Skin, Hair & Nails
Over all it is easy to manage with proper medication and regular monitoring. It might take a while for the doctors to find the right level of medication for you but once they do Hashimoto’s becomes more manageable.
Things to look out for with Hashimoto’s:
- Hashimoto’s and other thyroid diseases are very commonly linked with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- It is not uncommon for Hashimoto’s to cause Nodules to form every now and then. I have been told that they are mostly harmless and just a part of the disease but you never know.
- Stress and weight can be contributing factors.
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis while not commonly known about is actually the most common form of Thyroid disease. It is estimated that it affects about 14 MILLION Americans and that it is seven times more likely to affect women then it is to affect men.
Celebrities with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis:
- Kim Cattrall
- Jillian Michaels
- Linda Ronstadt (musician)
- Nia Vardalos (actress/writer)
- Oprah Winfrey
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis can sound scary and overwhelming when you are first diagnosed but once you become familiar with what you are dealing with it becomes very manageable.
Websites that I have found useful in dealing with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis:
You can find Part 1 of my Medical conditions series HERE