Published on January 31st, 2017 | by David Morales0
Health Watch: Thyroid Awareness
January is thyroid awareness month and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) is raising awareness about the thyroid disease Hashimoto Thyroiditis. That is why popular YouTube blogger Marnie Goldberg and endocrinologist Dr. Garber are working together to spread the facts. Now informing The Hype magazine about how you can identify the signs, what you can do for treatment and why every woman needs to know about this health-wrecking autoimmune disease. It affects an estimated 14 million people in the U.S and is about seven times more common in women. Hashimoto symptoms may develop over long periods and can be easily over looked. So, make sure to watch our video interview and learn how you can tell the signs that you or a loved one may be suffering from Hashimoto Thyroiditis.
Why is the thyroid gland so vital to optimal health?
The thyroid gland, which is a small gland at the base of the neck, controls the way your body produces energy or metabolism. Every organ and organ system in our body is dependent on that energy being generated. So, if your thyroid is malfunctioning, you’re going to malfunction in some fashion. When it is underactive, you can be profoundly fatigued, your mood can be depressed and you will need more sleep despite a long night’s sleep. You may wake up tired and want to go back to sleep. Memory can be impaired, bowels can be sluggish, you can feel cold, and your skin can get dry. The list can go on and on. Those are the things that the thyroid influences.
What can you tell us about Hashimoto Thyroiditis?
Hashimoto Thyroiditis is an auto immune condition where the body crosses its signals. It fails to recognize part of you as belonging there. So, in the case of Hashimoto Thyroiditis, your own body attacks the thyroid and gradually destroys it. It is the most common cause of an under active thyroid in North America. It can lead to thyroid enlargement, which is the result of the inflammatory process and the effort by the body to make up the size to combat the lack of function.
What type of symptoms do people experience?
In some cases, the thyroid itself can cause symptoms. If the thyroid is big enough, you can have pressure in your neck. Often the diagnosis is made simply by the appearance, such as a lump in your neck. It is a benign condition, but it does need to be evaluated. One way to categorize this is through structure and function. The structure is the enlargement and abnormalities that are visible and the function is whether it is producing enough thyroid hormone.
Ms. Goldberg, could you please tell me what symptoms you had that lead you to believe that something was wrong?
I had pretty much every symptom that the doctor described. I thought that all of that was just a factor of getting older. I had just turned 30 a year or two before. At first, I didn’t think it was anything, but I was waking up exhausted which seemed a little extreme. I gained a lot of weight but it was my husband who said that something is not right. He noticed the mood swings, irritability, and my inability to remember anything. I was distracted and lacked concentration. For him it was more. I was an unpleasant person to be living with and something wasn’t quite right. Thankfully, he suggested to make an appointment with my doctor to see if something was wrong.
How does your doctor help you manage your condition?
There is not much to manage! Once you are diagnosed, it’s as simple as taking your medicine once a day. It’s a tiny little pill. I take my medication at the same time every day on an empty stomach, and I make sure to see my doctor regularly to make sure my hormone levels are where they need to be. Within weeks of starting my treatment, my life was pretty much back to normal.
Dr. Garber what are some treatments options?
In its mildest form where there isn’t significant thyroid enlargement and the thyroid function is normal, it can just be observed. Another important feature is that it runs in families and not everyone is effected to the same degree. There are other autoimmune conditions that are more common. Just being aware can alert your family to other autoimmune conditions in your family. Moreover, if you have Hashimoto Thyroiditis, it may be a tip off to another autoimmune condition. So, just being aware of it and its potential ramifications is helpful. You can visit thyroidawareness.com for more information. Information is your best tool. Fortunately for most people, it can be treated and people can be resorted to health.