Hashimoto's disease (or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) is an autoimmune disease commonly responsible for the underactive function of thyroid function. With Hashimoto’s, the body regards the thyroid gland as a threat rather than a helpful organ for energy and metabolism. The body then produces antibodies against the thyroid as a result. Once these antibodies are produced, the thyroid becomes inflamed, damaged, and unable to make the hormones necessary for optimal health.
If you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, you may begin to experience low thyroid symptoms when the thyroid stops producing the hormones it is responsible for. It’s at this point when most people with Hashimoto’s first start to contact their doctor because they aren’t feeling well. Although this is when symptoms generally become noticeable, it doesn’t mean your body is necessarily new to autoimmunity.
You may have had autoimmune markers for months or even years prior to symptom presentation. The autoimmune causality can be missed during the diagnostic process as well. Many people suffering from Hashimoto’s are diagnosed with an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism without a full autoimmune workup.
Regardless of where you might be in your journey with Hashimoto’s disease, it can be helpful to learn from others who share your diagnosis. Hopefully, you’ll find some food for thought for living with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis that you didn’t have before.
3 Things You Need to Know About Living With Hashimoto's Disease
1. How to Recognize Common and Lesser-Known Symptoms of Hashimoto's Disease
If you suspect you may have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or if you’re relatively new to having a Hashimoto’s diagnosis, knowing the symptoms is critical. Although symptoms vary depending on the severity and the person, Hashimoto's disease has common symptoms. These include fatigue, weight gain, hair loss or thinning, new intolerance to cold, and dry skin.
There are also lesser-known symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis that may be surprising. Depression, low sex drive, puffiness in the face or around the eyes, dry eyes, light sensitivity, hoarseness, brain fog, and blood sugar imbalance can all occur. Plus, changes in nails like white vertical lines, brittleness, and ridges may indicate Hashimoto’s.
Although having these symptoms does not definitively mean Hashimoto's, it's helpful to mention symptoms like these to your doctor or health coach. Hashimoto's is commonly undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. So, sharing symptom changes is essential, even if you don’t think these symptoms are related to one another.
2. You Are Not Alone in Your Struggle With Hashimoto's Disease
Symptoms of Hashimoto’s can take a toll on your social life. Fatigue, depression, and anxiety can each make socializing a challenge. And, if other symptoms, like brain fog or pain, bring discomfort, social activities that aren’t necessary may feel off the table. Addressing the root cause of these symptoms can help.
In addition to symptoms sometimes making connections difficult, having an autoimmune condition can feel isolating on its own. But, it doesn’t have to. Hashimoto’s affects every 5 in 100 people in the United States and is among the most common autoimmune conditions. The chances are good that you or someone you know is currently struggling with Hashimoto’s symptoms.
If you’re comfortable, talk with friends and family about your past experiences, your feelings, and what you’re going through now. Believe it or not, connecting with others can be an integral part of the healing process. Plus, there are many online support groups and communities to meet others with Hashimoto’s.
3. You Can Improve Hashimoto's Disease With Lifestyle Changes
Thankfully, prescription medication options are available to help improve thyroid function. But, often, symptoms can still surface. Or, you may simply prefer to incorporate natural treatment options into your care plan. Many diet and lifestyle changes can also help with Hashimoto's alongside guidance from a doctor.
Remember never to underestimate the basics when it comes to feeling better.
Getting enough water is crucial to optimal health. Hydration helps with inflammation and even improves metabolic function. It’s recommended to aim for at least 64 fluid ounces (bonus points are available once you hit 80 oz!). Fatigue and other common autoimmune symptoms can be made better by staying hydrated.
Catch Some Zzzs
Consider sleep to be a basic building block for healing and good health. It’s not just the amount of sleep that you get, but the quality that matters. Practice good sleep hygiene, like maintaining a regular bedtime, establishing a bedtime routine, and getting the appropriate amount of sleep. After all, your sleep impacts your immune system, and getting better rest can help you fight disease.
Eat Your Veggies
If fatigue is a primary symptom of your Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, consider loading up on vegetables, particularly sea veggies. Sea veggies like kelp and dulse provide an array of essential minerals that help with thyroid healing. As a general tip, try to incorporate three different colors of vegetables at both lunch and dinner to ensure you’re getting enough. Fresh foods contain greater nutrients.
Make Time For Self-Care
Self-care simply means prioritizing your needs for the betterment of your health and emotional wellbeing. Self-care is now more commonly considered an integral part of managing long-term chronic conditions. Ways to put your needs first can be as simple as taking a quiet half-hour to read a book or making a healthful snack.
It might not currently be on your self-care to-do list, but journaling can help. Writing down your thoughts or points of gratitude is a great way to destress. Better still, reducing stress has the added benefit of reducing certain symptoms and taming overall inflammation.
Can Mymee Help With Hashimoto's Thyroiditis Symptoms?
If you’re finding it difficult to make lifestyle changes and aren’t sure where to start, Mymee can help. Mymee understands that autoimmunity is personal. Health coaches work with clients one-on-one to identify their unique triggers and make tailored plans for symptom reduction. If you’re ready to start taking control of your Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, let’s talk.