So, What Exactly Is Hashimoto’s Disease?
By Gina Beretta; Photography by Instagram/GigiHadid
Your thyroid, a thumb-size gland, rules your waistline, energy level, and mood.
This week an often over-looked thyroid disease made headline news, after Gigi Hadid bravely opened up about her noticeably smaller frame. In a recent panel for Reebok’s #PerfectNever campaign she revealed that she suffers from an autoimmune disease. “My metabolism actually changed like crazy this year. I have Hashimoto’s disease.” The Victoria’s Secret model says the thyroid disease has affected her metabolism, weight-loss, and even her muscle gain ahead of this year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion show.
So, while a lot us responded with sympathy it’s also left us all scratching our heads asking “well, what’s Hashimoto’s disease exactly?”
In a nutshell, it’s an autoimmune (an immune system disorder) condition that causes thyroid damage. This gland is essentially what controls your weight, metabolism, heart rate, temperature, and even your period. When you have Hashimoto’s, your immune system creates antibodies which attack the thyroid, This ultimately compromises hormone production and can result in extreme metabolism fluctuation.
What are the symptoms?
According to WebMD, the symptoms are varied and range from pain to weight gain to fertility issues to depression. Here’s what you need to look out for:
– Weight gain
– Paleness or puffiness of the face
– Joint and muscle pain
– Inability to get warm
– Difficulty getting pregnant
– Joint and muscle pain
– Hair loss or thinning, brittle hair
– Irregular or heavy menstrual periods
– Slowed heart rate
– Increased risk of developing other autoimmune disorders, including vitiligo, rheumatoid arthritis, Addison disease, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and pernicious anaemia
What causes it?
Sadly, the cause is unknown. Another piece of bad news… according to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, Hashimoto’s disease is about seven times more common in women than in men, and people who are diagnosed typically have family members with thyroid or other autoimmune diseases. The US National Library of Medicine attributes it to a “combination of genetic and environmental factors,” and notes that while the condition can show up in your teens and early twenties, it’s more common in middle-aged women. WebMD also points out that radiation exposure or too much iodine in your diet can be contributing factors, though genes are primarily the source of the disease.
Is there a cure?
Nope. But thanks to the advances in medicine, there are some medications that can help regulate your hormones and get your metabolism regulated again. And yes, experts say it’s totally plausible to have Hashimoto’s disease and still be healthy. Dr. Supneet Saluja, an endocrinologist at Baltimore’s Mercy Medical Hospital told Women’s Health US that once your body is producing the right amount of thyroid hormone, everything should be back to normal.