For those who may not know, hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland is under-active and fails to produce as much thyroxine (T4) as the body needs. T4 regulates heart rate, digestion, physical growth, and mental development.
A lack of T4 can damage vital organs and body tissues resulting in life-threatening complications. It is more common in women than in men and I personally struggle with hypothyroidism. Now that you know a little bit about the disease, you can learn about people who struggle with it, and why you should take in consideration their symptoms are why they are the way they are.
1. Hypothyroidism IS NOT just an excuse for being overweight.
One of the biggest struggles of living with this particular disease is trying to maintain your weight. It makes it very hard to lose weight and extremely easy to gain it all back. So no, it is not just an "excuse" for being overweight, it is a legitimate problem for certain individuals. You just have to learn to embrace the chubbiness and love yourself.
2. You might have aches like an eighty-year-old.
One of the many symptoms of hypothyroidism is intense muscle pain or extreme weakness. When it rains, you'll feel it coming.
3. Yes, I drink enough water. No, it doesn't hydrate my skin more.
It also causes extremely dry skin. So when you see me walking around with dry elbows and my legs looking like a dried up riverbed, that is why.
4. I promise I take care of my hair, but my body treats it differently.
Slight to extreme hair loss, premature graying, and dryness are all results from hypothyroidism. When I was in seventh grade, I lost a majority of my hair because I was letting my disease go untreated. I still struggle with my hair loss/breakage sometimes, and the dryness level is UNREAL.
5. There's never enough sleep.
Whether you take your medicine, or God forbid you miss a dosage of medicine, you will ALWAYS be tired. Ten hours of sleep can't even cure the sleepiness. It is never-ending.
6. Anxiety, depression, mood swings, oh my!
The underactive thyroid causes the depression, but the medicine can bring on the anxiety, which causes annoying over-the-top mood swings that make you seem psycho at times.
7. I honestly can't remember what you said five minutes ago.
Impaired memory and concentration struggles are two of the worst symptoms I find myself struggling with. It is hard to focus in school and at work, as it is also hard to retain information while studying or taking notes in class. If i miss a dosage of my medicine, i might as well hang up trying to be productive that day.
8. My tongue looks weird and no, it isn't a body modification.
My tongue swells in my mouth causing what is called a scalloped tongue, or a wavy tongue. The edges of my tongue are wavy and it looks extremely odd. (Yes, this is MY real tongue)
9. I'm known for my pale, swollen face.
It is a well-known fact in the thyroid world that hypothyroidism causes fatigue and anemia. I just happen to struggle with both of them, which results in a swollen, pale face all of the time.
10. Extra shorts are my best friend.
I find myself having a lot of hot flashes where I just need different pants on, so I make sure to keep some on me. Heat sensitivity is a side effect, as you may conclude by now.
11. Blankets are also my best friend.
Even though I have hot flashes, I'm usually colder than I am hot. This is a result of anemia and hypothyroidism, so I experience cold sensitivity times two.
Hypothyroidism is a disease I will struggle with for the rest of my life. I hope this article can give some insight on what its like to live with it and inform others about thyroid diseases.