My Condition: Hashimoto Thyroiditis

In some of my posts I have mentioned my disease of Hashimoto Thyroiditis and how I am struggeling with loosing weight partly because of it.

I was initially diagnosed when I was 17 and after the initial stage of determining how much medication I need, I have been on the same dosage ever since, taking a pill every single morning and probably for the rest of my life

This post is to share my personal experience with the disease and I also integrated some information from a German book written by Vanessa Blumhagen, a journalist also struggeling with the disease (Vanessa Blumhagen “Jeden Tag wurde ich dicker und müder”).

What is it?

Hashimoto is one of the most common autoimmune diseases. When you have this condition your thyroid is chronically inflamed due to a immune system dysfunction leading to a low-functioning thyroid.

The disease was discovered by the Japanese doctor Hakaru Hashimoto in 1912 and has two different forms: one one hand the hypertrophic form where the thyroid is increasing in size, and on the other hand the atrophic form where the thyroid tissue is being destructed and the thyroid decreases in time.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms vary greatly and while in the beginning some people display hyperthyroidism (and maybe sometimes in the form of episodes), the general symptoms are the one of hypothyroidism. Symptoms are (and this is not a complete list): depression, listlessness, hair loss, weight gain, decreased libido, constant fatigue, insomnia, impaired or decreased vision, reduced concentration, muscular pain, or digestive issues or food allergies.

As you can see the list of symptoms is very extensive and contains a lot of things people encounter in their life on a day-to-day basis without suffering from the disease. Hence, the initial diagnosis can take a while.

Common symptoms I display from time to time are weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, and listlessness.

When and how was I diagnosed?

I was diagnosed with the disease when I was about 17 years old, so almost 10 years ago. While I was never really skinny, once I was a teenager my weight started to increase more and more. I also was constantly tired. After school I had to lie down for a nap otherwise I couldn’t have continued the day. I was also very moody and experienced listlessness on a regular if not even daily basis. At some point my mom had it and sent me to the doctor because she felt something was wrong. And sure she was right: after a blood test my doctor was able to diagnose me with Hashimoto Thyroiditis and my treatment started.

What are side effects or what else may happen to me?

It is important to realize that even if you take your medication and your thyroid values are on the right level, you sometimes have episodes of symptoms. For me the most common ones are fatigue, listlessness, loss of hair, and insomnia. My vision has also decreased drastically over the last two years and I was just recently diagnosed with cataract (research suggests there is a connection between Hashimoto and cataract). One other side effect that I constantly struggle with is weight increase and the problems I face when trying to lose weight.

While these are symptoms I currently encounter from time to time, there might be coming more in the future. First of all, women with Hashimoto can face not being able to get pregnant. Other sequelae are diabetes, Morbus Basedown, Morbus Addison, Lupus, and others.

What does my treatment look like?

My treatment is fairly simple. I take Levothyroxine every morning 1h before breakfast. I also go to a specialist once a year, who conducts further examinations such as an ultrasound of the thyroid to see if its size or tissue has changed.

How is it affecting me in my daily life?

So far my daily life isn’t too affected especially as I only experience symptoms from time to time. However, weighing as much as I do I feel uncomfortable on a regular basis and would like to lose some weight. But thus far, this is all!

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