So, What Is Hashimoto's Disease?

POPSUGAR Photography | Rima Brindamour
POPSUGAR Photography | Rima Brindamour

In light of Gigi Hadid's recent announcement that she deals with Hashimoto's disease, many of us responded with sympathy — and a "wait, what's Hashimoto's disease?"

In sum, it's an autoimmune (an immune system disorder) disease that affects the thyroid. Quick refresher: your thyroid controls metabolism, weight, body temperature, heart rate, and your menstrual cycle. In a patient with Hashimoto's, the immune system attacks the thyroid, leading to a loss of necessary hormone production.

Effects and Symptoms of Hashimoto's

According to WebMD, symptoms range from pain to weight gain to fertility issues to depression.

  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Paleness or puffiness of the face
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Constipation
  • Inability to get warm
  • Difficulty getting pregnant
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Hair loss or thinning, brittle hair
  • Irregular or heavy menstrual periods
  • Depression
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Increased risk of developing other autoimmune disorders, including vitiligo, rheumatoid arthritis, Addison disease, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and pernicious anemia

How Do You Get It?

The cause is unknown, and it affects more women than men — about one to two percent of the US population. The US National Library of Medicine attributes it to a "combination of genetic and environmental factors," and notes that the onset is typically in mid-adulthood. WebMD suggests that radiation exposure or too much iodine can be contributing factors, though genes are primarily the source.

Is There a Cure?

No, but there are medications that can help regulate your hormones and get your metabolism regulated again.