It is absolutely astonishing how common thyroid disease symptoms are, and that is why they are so overlooked. So overlooked, that it took 7 years for me to get a diagnosis and treatment. For Hashimoto’s Disease. Hashimoto’s is a condition in which your thyroid gland malfunctions, and attacks your immune system. We’ve all heard about the Thyroid Gland, but I feel like not a lot of people really know anything about it, we’ve just heard about it. Your Thyroid gland is a gland at the base of your neck, which produces hormones that coordinate many of the body’s functions. It produces hormones that regulate the body’s metabolic rate, heart, muscle, and digestive function. It also regulates brain development and bone maintenance.
So… This is how Hashimoto’s Disease affected my life and the 7 years of not knowing about it.
The first thing that stemmed from developing Thyroid Disease was anxiety, which eventually led to me being diagnosed with a panic disorder and also starting treatment for that. Anxiety and Panic Disorder can be caused from so many physical underlying issues, that it is so important to rule those potential reasons out before concluding mental illness alone. Which is why I am so thankful my doctor did, having lead to discovering Hashimoto’s.
Anxiety can be caused by Heart Disease, Diabetes, Respirartory Disorders such as Asthma, Vitamin B-6 Deficiency, the list goes on. Doing blood work can give your doctor and you a good idea of what’s going on. Obviously, Thyroid Disease being on that list. When your Thyroid isn’t functioning correctly, it can cause you to develop Hypothyroidism (too slow) or Hyperthyroidism (too high), Thyroiditis, or Hashimoto’s Disease. Each one of these is serious and needs to be treated because it will literally affect your entire body.
Thyroid Disease can happen to anyone, but women are 5-8 times more likely to be diagnosed with a thyroid condition than men.
These are the symptoms of Thyroid Disease:
- Experiencing anxiety, irritability and nervousness.
- Having trouble sleeping.
- Losing weight.
- Having an enlarged thyroid gland or a goiter.
- Having muscle weakness and tremors.
- Experiencing irregular menstrual periods or having your menstrual cycle stop.
- Feeling sensitive to heat.
- Having vision problems or eye irritation
- Feeling tired or extreme fatigue.
- Gaining weight.
- Experiencing forgetfulness.
- Having frequent and heavy periods.
- Having dry and coarse hair.
- Having a hoarse voice.
- Experiencing an intolerance to cold temperatures
To some, these symptoms may not be a big deal. But wondering what could be the cause behind these feelings for so many years can be extremely frustrating, and exhausting.
Thyroid Disease is a serious condition, and can be fatal if untreated. Severity of the disease may require a Thyroidectomy; which means surgically removing the gland from your body and taking thyroid replacement hormones for the rest of your life instead.
I have known that I was lactose intolerent for years, which did 100% not stop me from consuming dairy (not a single chance in hell) But interestingly enough, I learned that it is extremely common for people who have Hasimoto’s Disease to be lactose intolerent because they are more sensitive to a protein found in dairy.
If you feel like any of these symptoms or feelings apply to you, it is so easy to get some bloodwork done and find out. If you have an untreated thyroid problem, or untreated Hashimoto’s Disease, it can lead to infertility, miscarriages, giving birth to a baby side with birth defects, high cholesterol, heart failure, seizures, coma or even death.
I also learned that is there is some major differences between anxiety, and a panic disorder. I believed I had only anxiety for years, until I learned that it was a combination of both.
Signs of Anxiety:
- Feeling nervous or restless
- Having a sense of impending fear or doom
- Increased heart rate
- Breathing rapidly
- Feeling weak or tired
Signs of a Panic Disorder:
- Fear of loss of control or death
- Rapid, pounding heart rate
- Shortness of breath and tight throat
- Chills or Hot Flashes
- Feeling of unreality or detachment
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Chest pain
If you’ve ever had a bad panic attack, you know it’s one of the worst feelings. You feel it building up, and your thoughts are racing along with your heartbeat and you literally think you might die. Having 3 or more major panic attacks a week, may put you in the category of having a panic disorder. The treatment is so effective and honestly, changes your quality of life completely.
Panic attacks, while intensely uncomfortable, are not dangerous. But panic attacks are hard to manage on your own, and they may get worse without treatment.
Panic attack symptoms can also resemble symptoms of other serious health problems, such as a heart attack, so it’s important to check out your symptoms.
Some of the best instant-relief methods or distractions when you’re having anxiety or a panic attack that have helped me in the past…
Wherever you are, name each colour you see around you. Focus on your senses and direct them at visualizing these colours as you point them out. Some colours like blue or purple can be actually calming to look at.
Challenge your thoughts: ask yourself why you are having anxiety and what is causing it. A lot of the time, you’ll realize your thoughts are irrational and everything is fine.
Breathing through your nose, or deep belly breaths, have a very calming chemical reaction and may soothe your anxiety within a few minutes.