Body image is very important to women, and when people criticize someone for being too heavy or too thin, it is hurtful. Unfortunately, body shaming has become all too common these days, but thankfully women are speaking out against it.
In response to comments about her body weight and appearance, famous model Gigi Hadid revealed on social media that she suffers from Hashimoto’s disease. Hadid wrote: “For those of you so determined to come up with why my body has changed over the years, you may not know that when I started at 17, I was not yet diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease; those of you who called me ‘too big for the industry’ were seeing inflammation and water retention due to that.”
What is Hashimoto’s Disease?
Hashimoto’s disease is also called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or autoimmune thyroiditis. It occurs when your body makes antibodies against your own thyroid gland, causing hypothyroidism, or low thyroid function. It was named after Dr. Hakaru Hashimoto, a Japanese physician who first described it in 1912 while working in Germany.
With Hashimoto’s, when a person’s immune system produces antibodies that attack the thyroid gland, it causes inflammation and damages the thyroid gland, resulting in a decreased ability to produce adequate amounts of thyroid hormone. Antibodies also bind to the circulating thyroid hormones in the blood, making them less available to the cells. It essentially makes you hypothyroid, and you exhibit the symptoms of low thyroid function. Take a look at some of the common symptoms of hypothyroidism below.
Common Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
- difficulty losing weight
- weight gain
- fluid retention
- cold hands and feet
- difficulty concentrating
- short term memory loss
- decreased mental sharpness/brain fog
- trouble sleeping
- recurrent and chronic infections
- hair loss
- joint and muscle aches and pains
- menstrual irregularities
How Hashimoto’s Disease Can Affect Your Body Weight
There are many things that can affect a woman’s body weight, and one of the most common is low thyroid function. Since Hashimoto’s disease leads to hypothyroidism, you may experience any or all of the symptoms of low thyroid function. Hypothyroidism causes a sluggish metabolism, thereby causing inflammation and weight gain. (Keep in mind that some people actually do lose weight with this condition.) Once you properly treat hypothyroidism, your metabolism revs back up to normal and it’s easier to shed that extra weight.
Hadid explained that she was taking medication to relieve her symptoms, which included extreme fatigue, metabolism issues and the body’s ability to retain heat. She is also working to balance her thyroid levels. She said that her body now breaks down food differently because of the improvement in her health. By improving her thyroid function, her metabolism is working more efficiently and she is able to keep the extra weight off.
Testing for Hashimoto’s
It is important to note that not all doctors test for Hashimoto’s disease. It is extremely common for patients who have autoimmune thyroiditis to otherwise have routine thyroid blood tests in the so-called normal range. Routine thyroid blood tests do not reveal the presence of autoimmune thyroiditis, which affects the cells’ ability to utilize thyroid hormones. This is one of the reasons that hypothyroidism often remains undiagnosed.
If you have symptoms of hypothyroidism, your blood should be specifically tested to determine if you have autoimmune thyroiditis. This can be done by having your blood checked for two thyroid antibodies:
1. Thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAB) and
2. Antithyroglobulin antibodies (ATA)
Treating Hashimoto’s Disease
In our practice, our physicians have had great success in treating Hashimoto’s disease with desiccated thyroid, which has both T3 and T4, the active and inactive thyroid hormones.
Unfortunately, conventional doctors are taught that Synthroid is the treatment of choice for hypothyroidism. These synthetic thyroid medications, such as Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothroid and Levothyroxine, contain only a synthetic version of T4, the inactive form of thyroid hormone. Taking T4 without T3, the active form of thyroid hormone, is like replacing only seven of the eight spark plugs in your car’s engine. Your body’s engine will run, but it will not function as well as it should. Your cells must be able to convert T4 to T3, the active form of thyroid hormone, in order to produce energy. For this reason, many people still experience all the symptoms of hypothyroidism even though they are taking these medications.
Could You Have Hashimoto’s Disease?
Have you seen your doctor about your low thyroid symptoms, only to be told your blood work was normal? Your doctor may not have tested you for Hashimoto’s disease. Take our symptom checker quiz today to find out if you could have hypothyroidism. It’s time to get your life back!