While many normal, unknown people cannot relate to celebrities on a daily basis, we find relevance in their infamy when they speak candidly about their lives. It is easier to find normalcy and connect to them as human beings when they reveal they are exactly that: humans that also have issues with various matters, like health. One such celebrity, known for her runway modeling and fashion career, is Gigi Hadid. At just 21-years-old, Hadid is a multimillionaire, made Model of the Year in 2016 and has graced hundreds of magazine covers. After a recent Victoria's Secret event, she started to be criticized for being "too skinny." What they didn't know is that was just a part of Gigi Hadid's Hashimoto's Battle.
Gigi Hadid's Hashimoto's Battle
As a result of the backlash, Hadid recently spoke out during an Elle interview about her battle with a thyroid disease, a surprise to her fans and followers. The condition, common in the United States, is known as Hashimoto’s or Lymphocytic Thyroiditis. Gigi Hadid’s Hashimoto’s Battle is being treated with a medication she began taking two years ago. While the disease cannot be cured, similar medications can be used to lessen the severity of symptoms.
What is Hashimoto's?
Like many who heard the breaking news, you may be perplexed as to what this thyroid disease actually is. Let’s start with the thyroid. According to the American Thyroid Association, the thyroid is a “butterfly-shaped endocrine gland” located in the neck. This gland produces hormones, which then regulate the body’s warmth, energy, metabolism and other functions in the organs and tissues. Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune condition in which the body produces antibodies that attack its own tissue (in this case the thyroid). It is not known what causes this condition.
How Do You Know If You Have Hashimoto's?
Hashimoto’s is much more prevalent in women--usually between 30 and 50 years old, those with a family history of thyroid problems and in people previously exposed to radiation. Unlike most diseases, symptoms of Hashimoto’s do not make themselves outwardly known. The symptoms progress over time and cause a depletion in the hormones that the thyroid secretes. Occasionally, the throat may swell where the gland sits. Like most symptoms of thyroid disease, some symptoms of Hashimoto’s include:
- Heavy menstrual cycles
- Achy muscles
- Puffy face
- Sensitivity to cold
- Weight gain/Weight loss
While these are common symptoms in patients diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, each individual varies in the severity and types of symptoms they experience. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should see a doctor if you become tired for no reason, are constipated, your skin is dry and face appears puffy.
How Is Hashimoto's Treated?
If it is believed you may suffer from a thyroid condition, doctors use a variety of bloodwork and antibody tests to measure hormone levels. Imaging tests, like CT scans may also be used. Once it is determined that you need to receive treatment, a doctor will work to develop a symptom management plan. As in Hadid’s case, Hashimoto’s can be treated medicinally over the course of your life.
Synthetic hormones are prescribed and must be taken daily. Blood tests must be done every few months to a year, to determine the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone in the body. Based upon this level, dosages of hormones may change or fluctuate. An alternate method is sometimes used by doctors, whereby the patient’s dose is gradually increased over time to allow the body to adjust.
Serious Problems May Develop If Untreated
Hashimoto’s rarely causes serious health issues, but if left untreated may lead to complications; people may experience goiters in the neck, severe depression, a decrease in libido, heart-related issues, or myxedema - a critical condition that leads to unconsciousness. Additionally, pregnant women are also at risk. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, this disease occurs in three to five pregnant women out of every 1,000. Untreated Hashimoto’s in pregnant women can cause birth defects, miscarriage, stillbirth and more.
What To Do If You Believe You Have A Thyroid Condition
If you believe you have a thyroid condition like Hashimoto’s, it is important to seek a doctor’s opinion. The sooner your hormone levels can be assessed, the sooner a thyroid issue can be detected and treated. Like Hadid, a proactive approach with treatment via medication and ongoing tests will help manage symptoms and slow progression of the disease. You don't have to be a celebrity to live a normal life.