Saturday, December 22, 2012

My Thyroid

Hello beautiful people! 
Here's a post about the Thyroid.

Some posts to look out for in the future:

Tis the Season to be Jolly Post on Secret Santas 
More Quest Product Reviews + Total Body Workout
My General Outline of My 2013 Fit Semester Plan
Stubborn Fat Burning Cardio


Here's some background on the thyroid: 

Your thyroid is a gland located at the base of your neck, just below your Adam’s apple. It is shaped like a butterfly – each wing, or lobe of your thyroid lies on either side of your windpipe.

The purpose of your thyroid gland is to make, store, and release thyroid hormones into your blood. These hormones, which are also referred to as T3 (liothyronine) and T4 (levothyroxine), affect almost every cell in your body, and help control your body’s functions. If you have too little thyroid hormone in your blood, your body slows down. This condition is called hypothyroidism. If you have too much thyroid hormone in your blood, your body speeds up. This condition is called hyperthyroidism.

What controls the amount of thyroid hormone produced?
The amount of thyroid hormone made by your thyroid gland is adjusted by a gland in the brain called the pituitary. Another part of your brain, the hypothalamus, helps the pituitary. The hypothalamus sends information to the pituitary gland, the pituitary in turn controls the thyroid gland.
The thyroid gland, pituitary gland, and hypothalamus all work together to control the amount of thyroid hormone in your body. With the pituitary controlling most of the action, these organs work similarly to the way a thermostat controls temperature in a room.
For example, just as the thermometer in a thermostat senses the temperature of a room, your pituitary gland constantly senses the amount of thyroid hormone in your blood. If there is not enough thyroid hormone, your pituitary senses the need to “turn on the heat”. It does this by releasing more thyroid-stimulating hormone (or TSH), which signals your thyroid to make more thyroid hormone. Your thyroid gland then makes and releases the hormone directly into your bloodstream.
Your pituitary gland then senses that there is just the right amount of thyroid hormone in your body. With your thyroid hormone levels now restored to a normal level, your pituitary slows its production of TSH back down to normal.

While there are a wide variety of blood tests that can be used in the evaluation of thyroid disease, thyroid function testing usually refers to measurement of both TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and thyroid hormone (usually T4) in the blood stream. If the thyroid is functioning normally, the T4 and the TSH are in the normal range. If the thyroid becomes underactive (hypothyroidism) the T4 declines and the TSH rises in an attempt to make the thyroid gland make some more T4. Conversely, if the thyroid gland is overactive (hyperthyroidism), the elevated T4 is sensed by the pituitary and TSH production is decreased in an effort to try to slow down the thyroid.

What can go wrong?
Diseases of the thyroid are often classified into problems primarily involving the structure of the thyroid gland (changes in size or the development of thyroid nodules) or function of the thyroid gland (over active or underactive).
Structural problems can include an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), a small thyroid gland (atrophic) or the development of either single nodules (solitary thyroid nodule) or multiple thyroid nodules (multinodular gland). The evaluation of structural problems of the thyroid is usually done with a thyroid ultrasound.
Functional problems of the thyroid are initially evaluated with thyroid function tests which are used to determine if the thyroid is functioning normally, over active or underactive. Often times a thyroid gland can have both a structural problem and a functional problem at the same time. So the evaluation of a thyroid condition includes careful evaluation of both the structure and function of the thyroid gland

So why am I talking to you about the thyroid? Because a few years ago I was diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism [or Graves Disease]. My symptoms were the usual for those with hyperthyroidism:
  • increased appetite & increased food intake with steady weight
  • rapid heartbeat [tachycardia] and irregular heartbeat with palpitations
  • tremors of the hands
  • sweating and hot all the time
  • sensitive to heat
  • irregular menstrual patterns
  • frequent bowel movements [sorry, tmi??]
  • enlarged thyroid - goiter 
  • fatigue and muscle weakness
  • difficulty in sleep
  • brittle hair and hair loss
  • discomfort in the eyes, light sensitivity, blurred vision, inflammation
Basically my body was on full throttle ALL the time. Everything full speed, hyper hyper active. Well this winter break, yesterday to be more precise, the 21st of December, I got radioactive iodine treatment to kill off my thyroid. The radioactive iodine is going to gradually shrink my thyroid over time and then ultimately destroy the gland, which will make me then hypothyroid. Here are the symptoms I've read for that:
  • fatigue
  • increased sensitivity to cold
  • constipation
  • dry skin
  • unexplained weight gain ---- D:
  • puffy face
  • hoarseness
  • muscle weakness
  • elevated blood cholesterol levels
  • muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
  • pain, stiffness or swelling of joints
  • heavier than normal/ irregular menstrual periods
  • thinning hair
  • slow heart rate
  • depression
  • impaired memory and forgetfulness
  • poor muscle tone
  • excessive sleepiness
Dunno if you could tell from my instagram post today asking for advice on post radioactive iodine/hypothyroid tips, I'm a bit freaked out by all of this. Everyone keeps saying as long as I take the meds, the synthetic hormones, then I should be able to function like everyone else and not experience these symptoms so badly. 

I'm most scared about the weight gain part! And I've heard it's SOOOO difficult to lose! That some have gained between 15 - 30 pounds, and now it's harder than ever to lose weight, even with restricted calories to 1300 and exercise 6x a week! Eek.... :O... But even though everyone says I should be fine once I find the right dosage of synthetic hormones and level out, I hear it takes a while for that to happen. It's not automatic. It might take a few months, if not years, to find the "perfect" level for my body. Ahhh this is giving me such bad anxiety!

The best thing I can do as of now though is keep monitoring it closely, listen to my body, keep getting my blood checked to find out my current levels so that my endocrinologist can prescribe me the right medication! As long as I continue to eat well and exercise, I'm seriously hoping for the best, and trying to stay positive!   

If any of you are experiencing the above symptoms, I highlyyy suggest you go get a blood test to see where your thyroid hormone levels are! Better safe than sorry in the long run! 


  1. In general, the RAI treatment for GD is recommended for older individuals, because (regardless of what doctors are saying) there is number of people who had RAI at their 20es developed nodules 2o years later. Therefore it is very important to select the right dose for the treatment. The short term side effects include damage to salivary glands (rare) and thyroid inflammation.
    Large goiter requires higher dosage than small one; also, if thyroid eye disease is present RAI makes it worse.
    I assume that your GD was confirmed by high level of TSI antibodies in your blood (there are some other hyperthyroid conditions (thyroiditis and toxic nodule) that are treated differently.

  2. Hi Josie, I too went thru hyperthyrodism in 1990 (am old :) when i was in Uni at that time the doctor also recommended the RAI treatment, i was told after 10 years i will need to take a thyroid pill for life. Oh think about it, the doctor actually told me either i take a pill from then or take the RAI treatment and wait ten years down the road. Ok fast track forward in 2001 to 2001, i went into hypothyrodism and is on thyroxine since. I do my thyroid chek everyear. Anyways on the hypothyrodism symptoms; i agree with sensitivity to cold, constipation,dry skin, elevated cholesterol, thinning hair. Howevever the rest you area able to fight em.... i can only think of my exercise / activities that is helping me deal with all these. I am still shy posting pictures on instagram, however i can tell you thru workout and proper nutrition you can beat them.
    Just a word of advice, i see you arr taking a lot of those protein shake, i noticed that too much soy products affects me, i become more lethargic ( this is in my current state not on my hyper stage ) and sugar level as well, ensure you have constant level as at times your sugar level will be low. - anyways you still have 10 years to think about all these, in the mean time enjoy! Do your workout!you actually have an advantage as i only started proper weights exercise diet regime when my body went into the hypo mode.... take care..

    1. ah thanks so much for the input! much appreciated! really hoping i'll be able to find a happy medium! <3

  3. Hi Josie,

    First I want to thank you for informing your followers about the effects of thyroid diseases (hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism). I almost started to cry in a good why because you are taking the time to let you followers be aware of this disease.
    I suffer from Hypothroidism. I am going to share with you what I have been going through, since you took the time to share with others.
    It started in December 2001, me and one of my sisters were laughing and as I was laughing and threw my head back, my sister stopped laughing and told me that she notice a knot slightly poking out of my neck. So I went to the mirror in the bathroom and noticed it. I was puzzled and immediately called my physician to make an appointment. I saw my doctor and took some tests. In January 2002, the results came back and it was reveiled that it was a tumor and I was in complete shock. So he refered me to another doctor. When I went to this doctor, he checked my neck, asked me questions and did a biopsy. I came back to him about approx a week later and the results of the tumor was beigned and I almost cried tears of joy. He also informed me that I will need surgery to remove the tumor. So in February 2002, I had a partial thyroidectomy, the surgery was successful and when I woke up, the doctor informed me that the tumor was a size of an egg! He said that I did not need to take any medicine. Thats why it was starting to show on my neck. I was completely shocked! This tumor was growing inside my throat without even knowing it. I still have the mark on my neck till this day. At the time of all this, I just turned 23 and I was 120 lbs. I was fine at for a while, but then I noticed the weight gain. I went to 120 to nearly 130 in a few months. Yes, over the years I have gained weight to the point I was between 140 and 150 pounds.
    In January 2008, an ultrasound reveiled that I had a nodule growing on the right side of my thyroid, but it wasn't a tumor. I still got upset a little.
    In October and November 2012, my tests reveiled that I am anemic, my vitamin D deficiency was too low and I took another ultrasound on that nodule.
    In January 2013, the results of the ultrasound came back and it was reveiled that the nodule has turned into multiple nodules and my thyroid was enlarged or in other words, I now have an Multinodular Goiter. So now, I have to go back in May and take another ultrasound. I took another blood test yesterday.
    I deal with a lot of those symptoms that you posted and deal with more symptoms. Till this day, I have not taken any medicine for this disease and I do not know why. You would of thought they would do more. It's amazing how that little thyroid gland can control your whole body.
    Even though I have been suffering through this for 11 years now, I am not giving up. I will continue to fight this no matter what.
    August 2012, my new doctor prescribed me a supplement to help lose some weight. I found out that my weight was 178 lbs, my waist was 39 inches, my BMI was almost 32%, I was getting close to being a diabetic and I was anemic. Devestated. I had never weighed that much. The supplement she gave me did help. My weight was going up and down, but from August 2012 to December 2012, I lost 19 lbs. Then in January 2013, I signed up for for Bootcamp classes to get in shape and joined a gym as well. From January 2013 to March 2013, I lost 15 lbs. So since August 2012, I so far have lost a total of 24 lbs. I'm retraining my body. Even though I am losing weight and eating clean, I do suffer from the symptoms. Hopefully this doctor will finally give me the medicine that I deserve.
    You are doing a great job with exercising and clean eating. helps you and others who reads this as well. I didn't list my symptoms because it will be too long, but you had most of them posted. Sorry that this is too long to read, but it shows what happened in the course of 11 years. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Take care!

    1. Oh my goodness thank you so much for sharing your story!
      I wish I knew who you were!
      YOU ARE SO STRONG AND SEEM LIKE A VERY DEDICATED PERSON! AND THERE IS NOT A THING THAT WILL STOP YOU FROM GETTING TO YOUR FITTEST AND HEALTHIEST SELF! You can get through this! Your health will stabilize, maybe not now, but eventually it will! YOU CAN DO IT! Never give up on your health and know that one day you'll be symptom free, happy, and in love with life and yourself, if you're not already, YOU SHOULD BE! BECAUSE YOU SOUND AMAZING! So full of positivity! <3 <3

  4. I never went through the Hyperthyroid phase but last summer I was diagnosed with Hypothyriodism. Unfortunately, I didn't catch it early on and I ended up gaining about 25 lbs and I was expirencing many of the symptoms listed above in your article. Right after being diagnosed I found a wonderful endocrinologist who has helped me so much in the last year. He put me on medication that has stabilized my thyriod hormones to a healthy level. Since then I haven't lost much weight and it is hard for me to maintain and keep up my muscle mass (which is minimal since gaining the weight). I now have to watch what I eat and that is seriously tough for me. I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted and not worry about it. It is frustrating and some days my self-esteem and personal view of my body aren't that great but I haven't given up yet and I don't plan to. I've been told by multiple people that getting/keeping weight off will be hard for the rest of my life but I don't plan on giving up. I know my journey with this condition has just started but hopfully I can be an inspiration to others later on. I really love that you put up this article and you've shed some light on this disease. Thank you!

    1. yes its a terrible invisible disease not many people know about but actually a lot of people suffer from! it sounds like you're doing FANTASTIC! no doubt you'll keep on going in the right direction! <3