10 Common Symptoms of Hashimoto's Disease
Hashimoto’s Disease occurs when your own immune system attacks your thyroid, which is a gland in your neck. Your thyroid gland is part of your endocrine system, which is responsible for producing hormones that manage several body functions. Hashimoto’s Disease causes inflammation of your thyroid, making it leak and create an excess of thyroid hormones – also referred to as hyperthyroidism. Over time, that inflammation stops your thyroid from generating enough hormones, which turns into hypothyroidism.
Hashimoto's Disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. Treatment of Hashimoto’s Disease is handled through synthetic hormone medications.
Symptom 1: Fatigue
Fatigue is often the most debilitating symptom that people experience with Hashimoto's Disease.
According to HeyHashi.org, “…the fact that autoimmune disease is real and the consequences of an illness like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can be huge. After all, you can’t see fatigue and just because someone has literally dragged their butt out of bed on any given day doesn’t make them well. Not everyone coping with a Hashimoto’s diagnosis will have to deal with extreme exhaustion, but many autoimmune patients do, and it’s very important to simply acknowledge that because being tired all the time can lead to feelings of hopelessness and depression. It’s also good to remind yourself that while bone-deep fatigue can be caused by sleep disturbances or insomnia, sometimes the exhaustion that can go hand in hand with Hashimoto’s is a direct result hypothyroidism and therefore not something that you can beat with a couple of naps.”
Symptom 2: Constipation
Do you have three or less bowel movements each week? Constipation can be a painful side effect of Hashimoto’s Disease or hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism can slow down your body's digestion and elimination processes, causing chronic constipation.
Symptom 3: Puffy Face
Is your face puffy? What about your eyes? Cheeks? Puffiness is a symptom of Hashimoto’s Disease. Such a facial appearance is often referred to as “carbo face.”
According to a Washington Post article, a patient stated: “I discovered that my patchwork of complaints — weird aches that sometimes made it painful to stand or move, and persistent dry skin that felt, well, vaguely reptilian — were more than random. I felt an intense fatigue that oddly made it difficult to rest and left me lying bolt awake at night, as if I’d been plugged into an electrical socket. Another symptom, a puffy face, helped me understand where my cheekbones had gone. Tack on weight gain, hoarseness and depression, and it all added up to hypothyroidism.”
Symptom 4: Weight Gain
Have you gained weight recently? Hashimoto's Disease and hypothyroidism causes decreased metabolism and whole-body energy production – making you gain weight.
Trying to lose weight with Hashimoto’s Disease is difficult - even if you take thyroid replacement hormone medication, exercise regularly, and have a healthy diet.
Symptom 5: Joint Pain
Do you have pain in your joints or muscles? With Hashimoto’s Disease, fluid builds up in your joints as your metabolism slows down, causing swelling and pain in your knees, shoulders, and other areas.
In an article by Dr. Izabella Wentz on Thyroidpharmacist.com, “I struggled with pain in the form of body aches and stiffness as well as carpal tunnel in both arms in 2010 when I was first diagnosed with Hashimoto's. It was awful…”
Symptom 6: Enlarged Thyroid
With Hashimoto’s Disease, the inflammation and enlargement of your thyroid creates a goiter, which you may be able to see and feel in your neck.
Medications can diffuse goiters, but you’ll also need to have them tested to make sure that they are not cancerous.
Symptom 7: Dry/Rough Skin
With a decrease in thyroid hormone, Hashimoto’s Disease can make your skin dry and rough.
According to a patient’s post on Patient.info, “Hi people, I was just wondering if anyone's skin has gone dry and if this is a problem that people with hypothyroidism have to deal with? I was diagnosed in April 2013 and prior to diagnosis I kept on getting really dry skin on my face. My skin was soft and more oily... It's more dry and it takes a while for spots to disappear I have been on levothyroxine since April 2013 and it has only been one month since my thyroid level has been in a normal range of 0.6. Will my skin go back to normal or will it tend to be more dry than before??”
Symptom 8: Hair Loss
Is your hair dry and brittle? Is some of it falling out?
Your hair follicles need nutrient-rich blood, so poor circulation in Hashimoto's Disease patients can cause hair loss. When circulation to your head and scalp is compromised, hair loss happens.
Symptom 9: Depression
Are you sad or depressed? Do you experience mood swings? Making you feel like you are crazy?
According to Holtorfmed.com, “With such a dramatic swing in symptoms, it’s easy to see how Hashimoto’s disease could be misdiagnosed as a mental illness like manic depression or bipolar disorder. And it happens much too often. A 1987 study found that as many as 15% of patients admitted to a psychiatric hospital for depression actually were suffering from some level of hypothyroidism.”
Symptom 10: Extremity Swelling
Are your legs, knees, or arms swollen?
Due to fluid retention with Hashimoto’s Disease, your extremities may become swollen. However, medications can help diminish such swelling.