(autoimmune thyroid disorder)
My family history is also a history of initially untreated thyroid problems. Our grandma had it, our mother and I have it, my sister luckily not so far. Hashimoto’s and everything about it was considered peculiar, and so far it started some of the finest dinner conversations. Now I would like for it to go a step forward and actually provide some actionable help for the ones sharing similar problems.
The case of a broken thermometer
My core body temperature is lower than what an average doctor would expect on average from an average person. I already wrote about it.
Doctors at that time blamed it on everything else but the metabolic potential of my cells.
We bought a fare share of thermometers, since at certain point it made sense to believe they might be all(?) broken.
Once, my dad and I went through a demonstration of how an average thermometer works, the nurse was very sweat, but it didn’t make my dad (who was at the time leading practical part of the chemistry lab exercises at the university, and using thermometer for his work with students on more than one occasion) understand how can other facts so easily be overseen.
Why is it always and repeatedly easier to find faultiness in things then diversity in us?
Early signs of my Hashimoto’s
Lower body temperature was an early sign of the disease I will later get to know by its name: Hashimoto’s.
What I also experienced at the time was:
I was always cold.
I needed to sleep longer.
What is Hashimoto’s?
Hashimoto’s is an immune disorder. It is a complex condition involving person’s immune system and primarily attacking the thyroid gland. When the immune cells attack the gland, they basically cause inflammation and destroy portions of thyroid gland, and as a consequence thyroid looses some of its function. It becomes underactive, and this condition is called hypothyroidism.
Thyroid gland is important part of everyone’s endocrine system, a system that produces hormones and regulates many, if not all of our bodily functions. Thyroid gland is a major producer of hormones that us going to the doc know as T4 and T3, these two are responsible for regulation of metabolism, amongst other important functions. They act on almost all of the cells we have in our bodies. Meaning when they are not present, metabolism will slow down. Consequences? Many. Some of them, typical for me I mention later in this post.
The other name for Hashimoto’s disease is chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis. It is believed it most often affects middle-aged women, but it very well might be (imo) that younger people suffer from some form of latent, mild form and are not diagnosed until the symptoms get more severe.
The long and winding road to diagnosis
For the most people I know and have interacted with, this was the case. There are several reasons for a problematic diagnosis, I conclude that from what I know so far:
1. Person is too young
2. Symptoms not strong enough
3. Not proper blood tests done
4. Person took symptoms too lightly (attributed it to seasonal tiredness, etc)
The road to discovery of my Hashimoto’s was quite long and unnecessarily painful, it took about two years. Eventually, I had to go back to my country of Croatia (some amazing doctors we have there), and ask (and pay of course) for the full panel of blood works, including TSH, (f)T3, (f)T4, anti-TG and anti-TPO. The last two are antibodies against receptors on thyroid cells. They are the ultimate markers of autoimmune thyroid diseases (so far).
How do I feel Hashimoto’s?
Hashimoto’s feels worse with the age, or it is the age that feels bad, and Hashimoto’s stays the same? I don’t know for sure. What I feel is that I need more times to recover from the flare ups, and I get easily worse than I used to be.
Here is the list of my current problems:
Goiter, aka the lump in my throat (it does not help to say “this is a normal part of the disease”! I was on a several occasions about to call an ambulance because I thought I might choke)
Blurriness, my brain is occasionally less sharp. I think I mapped it to my irregular taking of the pills.
Cold is not my friend: I feel freezing when most of the people feel ok.
Problems with digestion
Pain in my knee joints (ok, this might be something else too)
Hair loss, nausea and many more occur occasionally.
I experiment with my Hashimoto’s
I tried to see how would the follwing impact my symptoms and my life quality:
vitamins and minerals
iodine (makes me so sick, but it is important T3 and T4 are partially composed of it)
There are no quick fixes, but things can be made better.
Hashimoto’s is just the tip of the iceberg…
…it can signify the beginning of a weird relationship between the immune system and us. We age different (faster) because of the inflammation, we are more prone to the other conditions too. But, more about that in one of my next posts.