Today is World Thyroid Day. A day to raise awareness about thyroid health, education and treatments. I was diagnosed with autoimmune Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis about 6 years ago and feel it was never properly explained to me by my primary care physician, who also happened to specialize in Endocrinology. Which means that she should have had the knowledge and taken the time to explain just how serious Hashimoto’s could be. Told by my doctor that I could take medication daily if I wanted to or not because my “numbers” were low enough, I of course opted not to take it. I didn’t realize the severity of just letting it run its course without lifestyle, food and medical intervention. Fast forward 5 years to when my naturopathic doctor (who also has Hashimoto’s) convinced me I really needed to take steps towards addressing my illness because of how much the thyroid affects the body. What exactly does the thyroid affect? This graphic from Thyroid Sexy explains it well:
The thyroid affects just about everything. And when it isn’t functioning properly, it can wreak havoc with your system. The list of symptoms is extremely long and varies from person to person, sometimes leading to a delay in proper diagnosis. Unfortunately, many who suffer from thyroid disease are often called hypochondriacs due to their long list of ailments and doctors who don’t run all necessary thyroid tests. This is one of the reasons World Thyroid Day was created…to bring awareness not only to patients, but doctors as well. If you want to learn more about thyroid disorders – hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, Graves’ Disease, Hashimoto’s – there are many resources. I recommend the above-mentioned Thyroid Sexy page on Facebook, created by actress Gena Lee Nolin (yep, she was one of the Baywatch Babes) who is using her celebrity status to raise more awareness about thyroid disorders. Other recommended resources that I’ve personally used include:
Hypothyroid Mom: website and Facebook page
Mary Shomon: Facebook page and book (she has several other books also)
Izabella Wentz, PharmD: website, book, and Facebook page
Even if you don’t think you have any thyroid issues, I urge you to learn at least some basics about this little butterfly-shaped gland. That knowledge may come in handy in the future for you or a loved one, or it may provide you with an “ah ha” moment now. Thyroid disorders are actually quite common, but many people are undiagnosed.
Be proactive about your own health by learning, asking questions, demanding testing, switching doctors…whatever it takes to stay or become healthy.
Be your own advocate.