What is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Gigi Hadid’s disease?

In response to criticism of her frequent weight changes, model Gigi Hadid spoke in 2016 of having thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s disease in an interview with “Elle”. She explained that her metabolism “has been completely turned upside down this year” and revealed that she has been undergoing treatment for two years.

She returned to the subject last March in a new interview with the magazine, in which she confides that she needs rest during photo shoots.

Hashimoto’s disease is a chronic inflammation of the thyroid, a gland located below the Adam’s apple. The hormones it secretes affect a large number of vital functions. For example, they regulate heart rate, blood flow or the metabolism of calories.

Inflammation of the thyroid prevents it from secreting hormones in sufficient quantities, this is called hypothyroidism. Here, the origin of this inflammation is an autoimmune reaction, by which the body’s antibodies attack the cells of the gland.

What are the symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease?

Its most visible symptom is goiter, a swelling of the thyroid, which can be seen in the neck. In its normal form, the goiter is hard but causes no pain.

There are also the classic symptoms of hypothyroidism, which are as numerous as they are diverse. Patients tire quickly, tolerate cold poorly and easily gain weight. They exhibit, among other examples, a puffy face, constipation, and a slow heartbeat.

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In some cases, the patient (because the disease is 15 to 20 times more common in women) initially exhibits symptoms of hyperthyroidism, such as heat intolerance, easy weight loss, and rapid heartbeat. This appears early in the disease, or may be caused by Hashimoto’s association with Graves’ disease.

Who is affected by Hashimoto’s disease?

It is one of the most common thyroid diseases, which also affects other stars such as actresses Zoe Saldana and Victoria Justice. According to the online MSD manual, symptoms most often appear in women between the ages of 30 and 50, but the disease is present in all age groups.

What are the causes of Hashimoto’s disease?

There is no known cause for the autoimmune reaction that triggers Hashimoto, but several hypotheses have been mooted.

Some researchers suspect a genetic predisposition, since several cases are often found within the same family. Others think more of a viral or bacterial infection.

Although a link has not been established, this disorder is often associated with other endocrine and/or autoimmune pathologies, such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.

How is Hashimoto’s disease diagnosed?

To diagnose thyroiditis, doctors assess the functioning of the gland by taking a blood test. We measure blood levels of thyroid hormones, but we are also interested in another hormone, TSH.

TSH is secreted by the pituitary gland to stimulate the thyroid. If this does not work enough (hypothyroidism), the TSH levels will therefore increase. On the contrary, if the thyroid works excessively (hyperthyroidism), it will need less stimulation and the TSH levels decrease.

To confirm the autoimmune origins of the disease, the presence of antithyroid antibodies in the blood is tested.

The presence of nodules (benign tumors) can also be checked by ultrasound.

How is Hashimoto’s disease treated?

To compensate for hypothyroidism, the patient is prescribed synthetic hormones per tablet, usually levothyroxine. This treatment is necessary throughout life in the majority of cases. Once it is correctly dosed, its effectiveness is recognized and the disturbances caused by the disease disappear.

In rare cases, goiter can create a danger by compressing other organs, such as the respiratory tract, or by the presence of malignant tumors. In this case, surgery will be required.

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