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How to Deal with an Unwanted Autoimmune Disease

Hypothyroidism, often known as an underactive thyroid, is a common condition that affects millions of people. Managing classes, work and your mental health as a college student is already quite demanding. When hypothyroidism is added to the equation, a stew of chronic exhaustion, mental fog and weight gain makes everything feel exceedingly more difficult. Hypothyroidism is not a one-size-fits-all. Some individuals can go months without feeling anything and may not notice that they have the condition. Other times individuals have their symptoms controlled with medicine. Personally, Hypothyroidism has become a long-term issue for me. I have seen endocrinologists try to increase medicine dosages, I have tried gluten-free diets, I have tried losing weight and overall have done my best to somehow control this. Despite this, it continues to hover around me every day. Almost like an unwanted best friend. 

Unfortunately, Hypothyroidism has been an unsuccessful journey for me. It’s quite daunting to see influencers and other brands try to market the disease in a way where a “different diet” can make everything go away. A drastic diet should not be our only hope if the symptoms are not being controlled by the medicine. Personally, when I open up to my doctors about just how exhausted I always am because of this disease, I am just suggested to increase my dosage and go about my day but I am tired. I am tired of thinning hair. I am tired of being anxious. I am tired of being tired. There needs to be far more research done on hypothyroidism because this is not it, bestie. Those who suffer from hypothyroidism deserve better than this. 

Different elements have helped with ensuring that my symptoms don’t flare as much. For starters, I have been taking Vitamin D tablets. This has improved my fatigue a lot over time. I noticed that I feel genuinely worse when I end up skipping on these vitamins. I would recommend them to anyone. I would also recommend those levels be examined since they can have a significant impact on how tired a person feels. Staying hydrated is another important factor that has aided me. This is a must because if I don’t drink enough water, I am hurting my body more. Even though my symptoms aren’t under control, it’s critical not to make them worse. I find that when I am not drinking enough water, I just feel even more exhausted. Also eliminating caffeine has done wonders for me. Caffeine is a major trigger for me, and I have to remind myself of this. Caffeine may keep me alert for a short time but it also drains me because hypothyroidism and caffeine do not mix well. Lastly, many individuals have benefited from dietary experiments. There are dozens of reports about feeling better as a result of eating healthier and figuring out what works best for them. 

Overall, I wish there was a better way to manage hypothyroidism because it has such a wide-ranging impact. Hopefully, more contributions will be made in the future to keep symptoms and inflammation under control. The essential thing is that we keep having open discussions about triggers, symptoms and how to lure people away from these extreme diets. This condition will not be cured by consuming fewer calories. However, taking care of yourself can make a big difference.

Amal Choudhry

Bradley U '23

Hi, my name is Amal! I am currently a junior at Bradley University. I am a psychology major with a Biology minor. I have a deep appreciation for literature and I love snow globes.
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