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Do I Have Hashimoto’s Disease: Ask Yourself These 7 Questions

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Do I Have Hashimoto’s Disease: Ask Yourself These 7 Questions

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Hashimoto’s disease is a chronic autoimmune condition with symptoms like tiredness, feeling cold, weight gain, constipation, thinning hair, dry skin, and joint and muscle pain.
  • Understanding your symptoms can be a great way to determine whether you need to see a doctor. Our Hashimoto’s disease quiz can help you identify if you need further testing.
  • A registered dietitian specializing in thyroid disorders can help you manage your symptoms by making sustainable changes to your diet.

Hashimoto’s disease is a chronic autoimmune condition where the immune system mistakenly attacks the healthy thyroid gland.

This damages the thyroid gland and causes hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid.

Common symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease include tiredness, feeling cold, weight gain, constipation, thinning hair, dry skin, and joint and muscle pain.

Hashimoto’s disease is typically diagnosed by a doctor who will review your medical history and complete a physical exam.

Your doctor will also order blood tests to measure the levels of thyroid hormones or thyroid antibodies in your blood.

Keep reading to learn more about Hashimoto’s disease, and take our seven-question quiz to understand your symptoms better and determine whether a trip to the doctor is warranted.

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How Do I Know If I Have Hashimoto’s?

The only way to know for sure whether you have Hashimoto’s disease is through a medical history, physical exam, blood tests, and, in some cases, an ultrasound of your thyroid gland. 

You can also ask simple questions about your symptoms to determine whether you might have Hashimoto’s disease.

The quiz itself is not diagnostic of Hashimoto’s disease, but it can provide clues into what’s causing your symptoms and prompt a trip to the doctor for further testing. 

Take the Quiz: Do I Have Hashimoto’s Disease?

Quiz yourself using the following seven questions to gain insight into whether your symptoms might be related to Hashimoto’s disease.

1. Do I experience fatigue, even after getting enough sleep?

One of the most common symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease is fatigue, even after getting enough sleep.

This is because thyroid hormone is involved in the processes that allow your body to get energy from the food you eat.

If this process is disrupted by inadequate thyroid hormone, you may feel tired because your body isn’t getting the energy it needs.

2. Am I gaining weight without any lifestyle or dietary changes?

Thyroid hormones regulate your metabolism.

When your body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone, your metabolic rate (how many calories your body burns) decreases.

If you’ve noticed weight gain despite not making any diet or lifestyle changes, it could be a sign of an underactive thyroid gland.

3. Have I noticed hair loss or thinning hair?

Thyroid hormone is required for the development and maintenance of hair follicles.

Without it, hair cannot grow properly.

If you’ve noticed that your hair is thinning or falling out more easily, it could indicate that you have low thyroid hormone levels.

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4. Do I have a family history of thyroid disorders?

The development of Hashimoto’s disease is due to a complex interplay of environmental and genetic factors.

Studies have found that certain genes are associated with developing Hashimoto’s disease.

Given this relationship, if you have a family history of thyroid disorders, you may also be at an increased risk of having Hashimoto’s disease.

5. Am I experiencing muscle aches and weakness?

Muscle aches and weakness are more frequently observed in people with hypothyroidism, with between 30%-80% of people with hypothyroidism reporting these neuromuscular symptoms.

These symptoms generally improve once a person receives treatment.

If you’ve noticed muscle aches and weakness, it could indicate an underactive thyroid gland.

6. Have I been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder?

There is an association between autoimmune thyroid disorders like Hashimoto’s disease and other autoimmune disorders.

If you’ve been diagnosed with another autoimmune disorder, you may be at a higher risk of having Hashimoto’s disease.

7. Do I have a goiter (swollen thyroid)?

Some people with Hashimoto’s disease may have an enlarged thyroid gland.

This can cause the neck to look swollen at the front and may create a “full” feeling in your throat.

This enlargement, known as a goiter, is a key indicator of thyroid dysfunction.

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Interpreting Your Results

If you answered “yes” to several of these questions, consider booking an appointment with your doctor to discuss testing for Hashimoto’s disease.

If you answered “no” throughout the quiz but are still struggling with unexplained symptoms, you may still wish to see your doctor to rule out other causes.

You may also wish to speak with a registered dietitian who can evaluate your diet to see whether the cause of your symptoms is diet-related.

Diagnostic Testing

Diagnostic testing for Hashimoto’s disease is based on medical history, a physical exam, blood tests, and sometimes an ultrasound.

When conducting a physical exam, your doctor will look for the presence of a goiter, which some people with Hashimoto’s disease develop.

Your doctor may order several blood tests if they suspect you have Hashimoto’s disease.

These include:

  • Thyroid hormones T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine).
  • TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone).
  • TPO (thyroid peroxidase antibodies). This is a type of antibody (immune cell) that is found in most people with Hashimoto’s disease.

If you don’t have any antithyroid antibodies in your blood, but your doctor still suspects you have Hashimoto’s disease, they may order an ultrasound of your thyroid gland.

This will enable them to see if the gland is enlarged or if there are other causes of an enlarged thyroid, such as small lumps or nodules in the thyroid gland.

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Takeaway

Hashimoto’s disease can cause several unpleasant symptoms, including tiredness, feeling cold, weight gain, constipation, thinning hair, dry skin, and joint and muscle pain.

If you're experiencing these symptoms and suspect you may have Hashimoto’s disease, ask yourself the above questions to get a better sense of whether your symptoms are consistent with Hashimoto’s.

If you answered “yes” to several of the questions, it should prompt a visit to your doctor for further evaluation.

How a Dietitian Can Help

If you’re struggling with the symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease, such as tiredness and hair loss, making changes to your diet could help.

You can find help by working working with an autoimmune dietitian, who is a nutrition expert and a compassionate health care professional.

Find a dietitian that accepts insurance through Nourish—all appointments are online to easily fit into your schedule.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you determine if you have Hashimoto’s disease?

To determine whether you have Hashimoto’s disease, your doctor will review your medical history, complete a physical exam, order blood tests, and in some cases, perform a thyroid ultrasound.

What are the worst symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease?

Hashimoto’s disease has several unpleasant symptoms, including fatigue, weight gain, feeling cold all the time, joint and muscle pain, constipation, dry skin, thinning hair, fertility problems, and a slowed heart rate.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you should speak with your doctor to determine what’s causing them.

What is Hashimoto’s disease mistaken for?

Hashimoto’s disease may sometimes be mistaken for postpartum thyroiditis. Postpartum thyroiditis affects a small percentage of pregnant women and causes the thyroid gland to become inflamed.

References

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Your Result

Your results are in!

While you don’t seem to be at risk for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes based on this quiz, please contact your healthcare provider with any concerns. If you want to learn more about diet and lifestyle changes with diabetes, find a registered dietitian covered by insurance with Nourish.

Your Result

Your results are in!

You should seek guidance from your healthcare provider about the possibility of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.

If you want to learn more about diet and lifestyle changes with diabetes, find a registered dietitian covered by insurance with Nourish.

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