I have been complaining for a long time about not feeling right. Even on thyroid medication, I still have hypothyroid symptoms. I made a long list of symptoms to take to my doctor’s appointment including, but not limited to, weight gain (especially around my midsection), sensitivity to cold temperatures, acne, fatigue, not feeling full, and just an overall slow, lethargic feeling. I just feel like everything is slow with my body. It takes me a while to get up in the morning, my digestion is slow, my thinking is slow. I have had my thyroid TSH monitored and since it has been in the “normal” range, nothing has been done. I finally found an endocrinologist here in Austin, Texas that agreed to look deeper and figure out what was going on. This doctor said I have Hashimoto’s Disease. Hashi what? What is Hashimoto’s disease?
What is Hashimoto’s Disease?
So, what is Hashimoto’s? Here’s what I learned about Hashimoto’s Disease. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease that causes the thyroid to be attacked, therefore causing hypothyroidism. My doctor said hypothyroidism is caused by one of a few things: trauma such as surgery, radiation, congenital (you were born with low thyroid production), or Hashimoto’s. Since I didn’t have the first three, most likely my low thyroid is caused by Hashimoto’s.
I’m picturing in my head a Sumo Hashimoto guy attacking my thyroid.
Now that I know I have Hashimoto’s what do I do about it?
“What now?”, I asked. How do you treat Hashimoto’s? Well, once I got my TSH retested along with a few other thyroid hormones (T3 and T4), we could come up with a plan. It turns out, even though I’m within the normal range, though low normal, for these thyroid hormones, I’m not where a woman of my age should be. Also, since I’m having symptoms, we have some room to make medicine adjustments.
I’m currently on a dosage of 88mcg of Levothyroxin. So, my doctor increased my dosage to 112mcg. Then, I will have a blood test again and see how I feel after a few weeks.
I asked if there is anything I can do to either reverse the damage or to stop the attack from happening. Basically, there is not much that can be done. Someone with hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto’s disease will need to be on medication throughout their life to provide the right amount of hormones. Over one’s lifetime, the doctor will increase the dosage. That makes sense. I’ve been on the 88mcg dose for a long time. I was first diagnosed with hypothyroidism when I was in my early 20s. I’m pretty sure I’ve been at this dosage for 10-15 years.
Although, there is one thing I can do to help prevent further damage from Hashimoto’s. My doctor said to take care of my immune system. For a healthy immune system, I should exercise, eat healthy, get enough sleep, and get a flu shot every year.
So, that’s where I am now. I am now trying out this new dose of 112mcg of Synthroid / Levothyroxin (generic). I will see if I start to feel better.
Moral of the Story – Be Your Own Health Advocate
I really appreciate this doctor taking the time to listen to me, take me seriously, and be willing to help me feel better. That’s just another reason why you need to be your own advocate. Stand up for yourself. Speak up. If you don’t feel right, find a doctor that will listen to you. That’s how we found my breast cancer after talking to 3 different doctors.
How about you? Do you have a Hashimoto’s story?