Hakaru Hashimoto and I go way back. We first met in Germany in 1912. He was a physician and he had recently published a paper concerning lymphomatous goiters. Years after his unfortunate death that was brought on by typhoid fever, his paper was finally evaluated by American and English researchers. These researchers determined that what Hashimoto had described in his paper was an independent illness – an illness that is now known as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
Now – I didn’t really know Hakaru Hashimoto but I do have the illness he described in his paper.
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis – what is it?
Pretty much, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is my body’s autoimmune response against my thyroid. For some strange reason (that I hope to uncover and explore) my body doesn’t recognize my thyroid. My immune system sees my thyroid, flips out and starts attacking it in an attempt to get rid of the intruder. As a result, my thyroid is inflamed and battered by the body it lives to serve. It sputters away trying to pump T3 and T4 (thyroid hormones) in order to keep my body well balanced metabolically. But, it either tries too hard and goes into periods of over-activity (hyperthyroidism) or it just gives out and goes into periods of under-activity (hypothyroidism.)
Symptoms: (I’ll bold the ones I’ve come across in my own experience)
- Fatigue and Sluggishness
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Dry skin and hair
- A puffy face
- Hoarse voice
- Weight gain
- Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness, especially in shoulders and hips
- Pain and stiffness in joints and swelling in knees or small joints of hands and feet
- Decreased concentration
- Increased cholesterol levels
- Fertility problems
Wooh *wipes away sweat* that’s a lot to take in.
I mean, I’m somewhat used to all of this now – but not to the degree that I want to allow the illness to take over and control me. So, it’s been a couple of years now of the usual “treatment” for Hashimoto’s which is basically taking thyroid hormones so your thyroid doesn’t have to work so hard and can just fade away from your immune system’s radar. But that isn’t exactly treating my thyroiditis – all it’s really doing is calming down the resulting symptoms of an under-active thyroid. What taking medications such as Synthroid and Armour aren’t doing treating the root cause of Hashimoto’s. Now, what many doctors and medical sources might say is that there is no cure. But other sources I’ve come across beg to differ.
Really, I’ve had enough of feeling horrible. I used to really feel bad about my situation and pity myself – but not anymore. I can’t live that way anymore. I want to take matters into my own hands.
With my next semester in the horizon, I’m going to change things up from the usual endocrinologist visits and checking TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) levels. Rather than only keeping an eye on my thyroid hormone levels and treating my symptoms, I want to find the root of my problems. Why did I get Hashimoto’s anyway? Why do I feel sick more on some days than others? Why does my body continue to attack my thyroid?
From my readings, many people seem to point fingers at components of our DIET – particularly at gluten. Apparently, there are many things that we consume that have similar protein structures to that of the thyroid. When these things somehow wrongly enter our body via a leaky gut our body marks it for attack and likewise, attacks the thyroid. Is any of this true? I don’t know. I’ll have to do some digging into medical journals.
The point is, I’m going to try going to an allergist and identify different foods and substances I may be allergic or intolerant to – gluten being a big one.
If I do end up being gluten intolerant – that’s huge. There’s going to be a drastic change in what I eat. It’s scary but it’s also kind of exciting. I hope to keep you all posted on how it all turns out.
Until next time,