Thyroid Disease Awareness Month
C January is Thyroid Disease Awareness month. Last year I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease. It's a form of hypothyroidism, where the immune system attacks the thyroid, causing it to not function properly.
Hypothyroidism is woefully under diagnosed and under treated. Symptoms include: weight gain or weight fluctuations, hair loss, dry skin, depression, anxiety, infertility, muscle/joint pain, poor digestion, brain fog, poor circulation (cold all the time!), and most notablely, life-sucking fatigue.
Happily, my symptoms are mostly managed at the moment. I had to learn how to adapt my yoga and dance practice to be super efficient and effective for days when I am suffering from fatigue and to plan for poor muscle recovery. I also had to learn to be OK with not feeling OK, which is an ongoing journey! What I have learned from this as a teacher is that some days a body can do a lot, and some days a body can do very little. You never have to a apologize for resting or skipping things in class. I understand. Just do what you can and be happy for what you are able to do.
The thing that has made the biggest difference for me is taking T3 in addition to the standard prescription of T4 (synthroid). Many people do not convert T4 to T3 well enough to thrive on T4 only drugs, and so symptoms persist. If you think you my be hypothyroid, make sure you get your T4 & T3 levels checked in addition to the standard TSH test. Many doctors use old lab standards to diagnose and treat hypothyroidism and consider TSH as high as 5 to be normal. I was over 5 when I was first diagnosed and when I had a relapse of symptoms I was at 2-something. I feel best around one which many doctors would say is on the low side of normal. High doses of B vitamins & B12 in addition to a healthy diet, plenty of sleep and generally taking good care of myself keeps me feeling well. Everyone deserves to feel as well as possible so if you're feel like you're health is not optimal and you're not getting the answers or attention you need from your doctor, keep at it. There are awesome doctors out there who can help you! We all have bad days, but we can still make wellness a priority and be compassionate towards ourselves when we're not feeling our best.
Here are some of my favorite thyroid resources:
Thyroid Change - This is the site where I found my awesome doctor. They are great at advocacy and also have the cool widget where you can make put a thyroid awareness ribbon on your avatar.
6 Steps to Managing Brain Fog by Zen Thyroid - I would have to say the cognitive symptoms that go along with thyroid disease are the worst. It's scary and frustrating to forget words, forget where you put things and have a hard time concentrating. I refer back to this list A LOT when I get brain fog.
Why Do I Still have Thyroid Symptoms when My Lab Tests are Normal? - A comprehensive book about how your thyroid works and how to support it with diet and lifestyle.
Also follow my hashimoto's tag for my story.