Autoimmune Disorders and Diet

I’ve recently noticed that more people are blogging. While in Taiwan Ryan and I kept our blog updated, but fell behind once we returned to the United States. We were blogging before it became popular. Unfortunately, our blog was shut down…..well, maybe shut down isn’t the correct term. We had a site with Xanga, but its users now have to pay a fee to blog with this site. Thankfully we were able to save all of our past blogs!

We would love to live abroad again one day, but for now we are meant to stay in Kentucky. We are both working on finishing up our Master’s degree in Teaching. I’ve missed blogging, but it often falls to the wayside because I am more preoccupied with writing papers. All of the academic writing that accompanies two Master’s degree has certainly left me missing the cathartic feeling that comes from blogging.

There’s another reason I fell behind with blogging: I was always tired. I’m still always tired. When I get home from work I just want to sleep. I can imagine what most of you are thinking, “Who doesn’t?” I mean EXHAUSTED

It takes so little to cause me to feel fatigued these days. At first I thought it was associated with the stress that accompanies being a graduate student. While getting my Master’s degree in Social Work, one of my doctor’s discovered that my thyroid was enlarged. Tests were performed, but the endocrinologist I saw did not wish to start me on any sort of treatment. After seeing my lab results and hearing my symptoms, my primary care physician put me on Synthroid. This worked for a while….but the symptoms were still affecting me.

This leads me to the point of this blog: a journey to becoming healthier–not just physically, but also spirituality and mentally. I was recently diagnosed with Hoshimotos Disease. This is an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid; my immune system is attacking the gland in my body that is responsible for metabolism, growth, body temperature, muscle strength, appetite, and the health of my heart, brain, kidneys, and reproductive system.

CrazyThyroidLady ™: THE THYROID AND THE BRAIN

Thyroid cells are the only cells in the body that absorb iodine. The thyroid uses iodine to create the T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine) hormones. The thyroid responds to the levels of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) secreted by the brain’s pituitary gland. As the TSH levels in the blood rise, the thyroid responds by making more hormone; as the levels drop, the thyroid is signaled to make less hormone.

In essence, If your thyroid doesn’t work properly – neither do you.  What has my life been like over the past 5 or so years? Let’s look at some common symptoms that those with Hoshimotos Disease experience:

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis can be asymptomatic, but when symptoms appear, they generally begin as a gradual enlargement of the thyroid gland (goiter) and/or the gradual development of hypothyroidism, the symptoms of which include:

  • Anemia (both iron-deficient and pernicious)
  • Brain fog (forgetfulness, sluggish thinking, loss of energy for life)
  • Chest pains
  • Cold intolerance; cold hands and feet
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Dry, coarse skin
  • Early graying of hair
  • Exhaustion after exercise
  • Frequent colds and flu and difficulty recovering from infection
  • Headaches, including migraines
  • High cholesterol, especially LDL
  • Infertility; miscarriage
  • Low basal temperature
  • Low libido
  • Muscle cramps/tenderness
  • Hair loss
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Seasonal (cold weather) exacerbation of symptoms
  • Severe PMS
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Slowed speech and ankle reflexes
  • Tired, aching muscles
  • Weak, brittle nails
  • Weight gain

There are also other, less frequent symptoms, including increased blood pressure and excess earwax.

Of course, I have no experienced all of these symptoms, but I have endured MANY of them. It’s not been fun for my family or me. In addition, I also have Irritable Bowel Syndrome…..fun times! With all that being said, it is quite surprising how common autoimmune disorders are these days.

After receiving my diagnosis, I started research autoimmune disorders and natural ways to deal with them. I have found a lot of information about diet and the importance of probiotic. A future blog will be dedicated to some of my discoveries….this one is already getting a bit lengthy. When I mention probiotic, I am not referring to the kind you buy in a box at a store, but rather the kind that comes from fermented foods. The diet is limited and I will have to make a lot of changes, but I am hoping it will lead me to a healthier life.  I will talk about my shopping trips, meals plans, etc. Through this blog I plan to outline this new diet and how it helps my health. I hope others with autoimmune disorders will find it beneficial. Even if you don’t have an autoimmune disorder, stay tuned….I will also offer other helpful tips for becoming a healthier, happier version of yourself.