Introduction: What is Hashimoto’s Disease?
Hashimoto’s disease is a disorder that causes an overproduction of thyroid hormone. This can lead to symptoms including fatigue, muscle weakness, depression and weight gain.
This disease is caused by inflammation of the thyroid gland, which can be triggered by a variety of factors such as lifestyle choices or environmental factors. Treatment typically involves medication to control the overproduction of thyroid hormones and other treatments to address the underlying cause of the disorder.
What are the symptoms?
With Hashimoto’s disease the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland. As a result, the thyroid gland may become damaged and stop working properly.
Symptoms include yellow skin and eyes, difficulty breathing, fatigue, weight gain, thinning hair, itchy and dry skin, difficulty swallowing and a lump or swelling in the neck.
People can also experience other symptoms such as a sluggish digestive system, gut-related issues like constipation, food sensitivities, brain fog, dizziness, nausea, heightened sensitivity to heat and cold, headaches and feeling generally low.
An underactive thyroid can also raise ‘bad’ cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of a heart attack or developing heart disease, lead to cardiovascular disease, nerve injury and infertility (it can affect ovulation).
What are the causes?
The causes of Hashimoto’s disease are unknown; however, it’s believed that a combination of genetic and environmental factors play a role in its development. Some possible causes include:
1) Infections – It is thought that infections may trigger the development of Hashimoto’s disease in some people.
2) Smoking – Smoking has been linked to the development of autoimmune disorders, including Hashimoto’s disease.
3) Radiation exposure – Exposure to radiation may increase the risk of developing Hashimoto’s disease.
4) Diet – There is some evidence that a diet high in processed foods and sugar may contribute to the development of Hashimoto’s disease.
5) Stress – Stress may also play a role in the development of autoimmune disorders like Hashimoto’s disease.
As we already know, Hashimoto’s disease is a condition that results in the inflammation of the thyroid gland. The cause of the inflammation is not yet known, but it is thought to be autoimmune in nature. The symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease can vary from person to person, but typically include fatigue, weight gain, muscle weakness and difficulty swallowing.
The best way to diagnose this disease is to get a blood test from your local GP to test your thyroid levels. If the thyroid levels are not stable, your doctor will refer you to an endocrinologist specialist to run further testing and to determine the most appropriate dosage of medication (thyroxine).
The most common treatment for Hashimoto’s disease is thyroid hormone replacement therapy. This therapy involves taking medication that replaces the hormones which are missing, or in low supply, due to the inflammation of the thyroid gland. Other treatments may include medications to treat the inflammation, supplements to support thyroid function and dietary changes.
A variety of medication brands are available on the market. One common brand is Eutroxsig Levothyroxine sodium, which is required to be refrigerated prior to consumption. If you are travelling you can purchase other brands that do not require refrigeration, however, beware that changing brands can cause other unwanted side effects such as headaches and nausea. If you aren’t taking your usual brand of medication, make sure you test another brand well before you travel to make sure you aren’t worsening your symptoms and ultimately ruining your holiday!
How to live with this disease
There is no cure for Hashimoto’s disease, but there are treatments that can help control the symptoms. Some steps you can take to live with Hashimoto’s disease include:
1. See a doctor who specialises in treating autoimmune disorders. They will be able to help you find the best treatment plan for you.
2. Make sure to get regular check-ups and blood tests to monitor your thyroid function.
3. Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. This can help keep your energy levels up and your weight down.
4. Manage your stress levels as much as possible. Stress can aggravate the symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease.
5. Take any prescribed medications exactly as directed by your doctor.
Additionally, you can take extra steps to keep your thyroid symptoms under control, such as checking into a health farm or retreat to learn about how you can best manage your symptoms naturally.
Having Hashimoto’s disease can be a nightmare and ruin your life if it goes unchecked. Just remember that stress aggravates this condition and therefore resting when you feel ill is vital. Taking the proper medication and dosage is also critical to manage your thyroid function and to make you feel generally better.
It’s quite a common disease world-wide, especially amongst women, so you are not alone in this, help is near! Visit your doctor asap if you think you’re suffering from this disease because it can be dangerous if left unchecked.