Hashimoto’s Disease: Here’s what you need to know
Hashimoto's disease is more common in women than in men, and people who are diagnosed typically have family members with thyroid
The model says it’s thrown her metabolism completely out of whack.
Gigi Hadid made a surprising revelation this week: Despite working out like a boss and doing her best to eat healthfully, she’s dealt with her fair share of metabolism struggles. That’s because she suffers from Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune condition that causes thyroid damage.
"My metabolism actually changed like crazy this year," Gigi revealed at Reebok‘s #PerfectNever event in New York City, according to People. "I have Hashimoto’s disease. It’s a thyroid disease, and it’s now been two years since taking the medication for it.”
Her disease played a role in how she prepared for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which just took place in Paris. “I didn’t want to lose any more weight, she said. “I just want to have muscles in the right place, and if my butt can get a little perkier, then that’s good."
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Hashimoto’s disease is about seven times more common in women than in men, and people who are diagnosed typically have family members with thyroid or other autoimmune diseases. It can occur in teens and young women, but shows up more commonly in middle-aged women, the organization says. (That said, Gina Rodriguez and Victoria Justice have also said they suffer from the condition.)
A person develops Hashimoto’s disease when their body creates antibodies that fight against their thyroid gland, says Melanie Goldfarb, M.D., an endocrine surgeon and director of the endocrine tumor program at John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif.
People may not even notice the symptoms—which include constipation, feeling cold and rundown, and having difficulty concentrating—at first, as they’re not super obvious, says Goldfarb. Eventually, though, your thyroid won’t function as well as it could, and as a result you’ll likely start noticing some seemingly unexplainable weight gain, she says.
That often brings people into the doctor’s office, where diagnosis happens through a blood test that measures the levels of the thyroid hormone and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in your body, says Supneet Saluja, M.D., an endocrinologist at Baltimore’s Mercy Medical Hospital.
Sometimes, doctors take a wait-and-see-approach with Hashimoto’s disease. “Having the condition itself doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to have symptoms or that your thyroid isn’t working,” Goldfarb explains. Doctors will typically give patients a blood test each year to check their thyroid hormone levels and, if they start to drop, they’ll prescribe medication like levothyroxine to help them re-stabilize.
And yes, experts say it’s totally plausible to have Hashimoto’s disease and still be healthy. “Once [your body is producing] the right amount of thyroid hormone, [everything] should be back to normal,” says Saluja. Plus, any weight gain that occurred because hormone levels were out of whack should drop off once they’re back in proper working order.