Both thyroid problems and autoimmune diseases are known to cause fatigue and weakness. If you have an autoimmune thyroid disease, you are essentially dealing with two factors known to cause fatigue and weakness, a thyroid problem that is also an autoimmune disease. The effects of both an autoimmune disease and a thyroid problem combined can cause debilitating fatigue and weakness that may greatly affect your daily life.
How Thyroid Problems Cause Fatigue and Weakness
Your thyroid gland affects many of your bodily functions. With hypothyroidism all of the bodily functions controlled by the thyroid slow down. This slowing down of the body causes you to feel fatigued and weak. Often, the more hypothyroid you are, the greater your fatigue and weakness will be.
With hyperthyroidism all of the bodily functions controlled by the thyroid go faster than they are supposed to. This speeding up of the body increases your heart rate and blood pressure and makes your body work faster than normal even when you are at rest. Your body working faster than it should causes fatigue and weakness. Many people also experience insomnia when they are hyperthyroid, causing even greater fatigue.
One of the bodily functions your thyroid controls is your metabolism. If your metabolism isn’t working correctly because of thyroid dysfunction, your body can not get the energy it needs from the food you eat. If your body can’t get enough energy from food, you will be fatigued and weak.
How Autoimmune Diseases Cause Fatigue and Weakness
Your body is meant to create antibodies to attack illnesses and infections. Autoimmune diseases create antibodies that attack your body. You know how tired and weak you can get just from your body fighting a common cold or the flu. In those cases, your body was putting its energy into attacking the illness which made you feel tired and weak. Now imagine that your body is attacking itself. Not only is your body putting energy into attacking something, but the very thing it is attacking is going to wear you out even more, because it’s your body that your body is attacking. The defense system that was meant to protect your body is trying to destroy a part of your body instead. Your body fighting and attacking itself causes significant fatigue and weakness.
My Experience with Autoimmune Thyroid Diseases and Debilitating Fatigue and Weakness
I have two autoimmune thyroid diseases, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Graves Disease, and have antibodies from both. I have been dealing with the effects of these autoimmune thyroid diseases for several years. They cause debilitating fatigue and weakness that affect my daily life. Some days are better than others, but every day is affected.
Before being affected by the autoimmune thyroid diseases, I was very active. I loved mountain biking, going for walks, working out, taking the kids to the park, and even playing sports with the kids. I also only slept about six to seven hours a night and felt fine. Now I barely have the strength and energy to accomplish daily tasks, rarely am able to go for a bike ride or walk, never work out, and usually sleep eight to nine hours a night and still feel tired the next day. I sometimes have short phases of being able to function on seven to seven and a half hours of sleep, but I also have phases of sleeping ten hours and still being exhausted and weak the next day.
I deal with this fatigue and weakness on a daily basis with the effects varying throughout the day. Sometimes I just get wore out easily. Other times I am too weak to lift things that I usually can. Many times the fatigue and weakness is so debilitating that I am shaky and unable to do anything. These are the times, I have to sit or lie down until I feel better. If I have to lie down I often fall asleep for a couple of hours even if I already had a full night’s rest.
How to Deal with Debilitating Fatigue and Weakness
Unfortunately, there’s nothing I can do to make the debilitating fatigue and weakness go away. I have to take it as it comes. I have found that the worst thing you can do is to feel guilty about all the things you can’t get done because of it. This includes not letting other people make you feel guilty about it either. Remember that you have an autoimmune disease that is attacking your body and that you also have a thyroid problem, both of which are causing the fatigue and weakness. Don’t blame yourself for something that you can’t control. The best thing you can do for yourself is to simply do your best each day and find satisfaction in what you are able to accomplish.
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