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8 Things I Would Tell a Friend Who Was Newly Diagnosed With Hypothyroidism

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Having been through the ups and downs of hypothyroidism, I now feel comfortable talking about many aspects of it. I hope this helps if you were just diagnosed or want to understand your thyroid disease better.

Please pass this on to friends and family who have been diagnosed, so we can continue to help each other. 

1. All those symptoms and conditions you have could be from your thyroid disease. 

Your fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, acid reflux, low blood pressure and depression — to name just a few — can be from an inadequately treated thyroid condition. So once you correct this, they may well go away or get better.

2. Your thyroid is located in your neck and is important for many bodily functions and processes. 

None of us really know where the thyroid gland is or what it does when we’re first diagnosed, so this is important to learn. The thyroid gland is located in the neck, and its main purpose is to produce thyroid hormones to ensure the metabolism is running properly. 

The metabolism’s job is to produce heat and fuel — heat to keep us warm and fuel to give us energy. If we don’t have enough thyroid hormones, our metabolism won’t work properly and can’t provide us with adequate heat and fuel.

Therefore, people with an underactive thyroid have a slow metabolism and will have symptoms associated with a slow metabolism, such as cold intolerance (from the lack of heat made), extreme tiredness and weight gain (from the lack of calories burned to make energy).

3. There is a great, supportive community out there. 

So many people feel alone with thyroid disease. This condition can make you feel depressed, lonely and isolated. It can have huge impact on every aspect of our lives, and those who don’t have it often don’t understand our condition and underestimate it.

Therefore, you should reach out to those of us who do understand. There are many online support groups and forums who can be supportive, helpful and give advice and share their experiences with you, as well as be there to listen when you need to rant about a bad thyroid day.

4. Pick up books. 

There are many thyroid books out there that are brilliant. Many are written by doctors, functional practitioners or thyroid advocates and are a must-read for all thyroid patients.

5. It’s worth researching about adrenal dysfunction. 

Many of us with hypothyroidism also have some degree of adrenal fatigue, so it’s worth exploring the signs and symptoms of this condition, so you can act to treat it as soon as possible. For some people, adrenal fatigue symptoms can end up being half the problem, and they can’t get better on thyroid medication without working on their adrenals as well.

6. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. 

“Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States,” according to the Mayo Clinic. So it’s often really helpful to confirm if we do indeed have Hashimoto’s, since certain things can help to keep it under control. You need the tests to confirm if you have Hashimoto’s.

7. It’s OK to have bad days. 

This condition is not easy to live with. Not at all. It’s OK to struggle, and it’s OK to admit that you can’t do as much as you used to. You need to accept this now before you carry on beating yourself up about it. You need to do your best to get family, friends and colleagues to understand that with this new diagnosis, you may struggle sometimes, be forgetful or not feel up to things and you’re not to blame. Accept it, own it and respect it, and others will start to as well.

8. You can get better.

You may have read other peoples’ experiences online about how they never feel well again and start to worry. I certainly did! But don’t let this depress you; you can get well again. The above mentioned points need to be considered, and you’ll need to be your own thyroid advocate and embrace all the information out there in order to get better, but it’s not all bad.

Empower yourself and become educated on your health and push for answers. It won’t always be easy but you owe it to yourself. Buy books, learn from other patients’ experiences and don’t let the doctors dismiss your symptoms. If you can find a good doctor or endocrinologist, then even better!

Follow this journey on The Invisible Hypothyroidism.

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Image via Thinkstock Images

Originally published: November 11, 2016
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