11 Celebs With Thyroid Disease–and How They Knew Something Was Wrong
What is thyroid disease?
Your thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck, makes hormones you need to convert food into energy. People don’t often think about their thyroid–until it goes haywire due to injury or disease. It can make too much thyroid hormone or too little. It can swell, develop nodules, or become cancerous.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid, leading to chronic inflammation. It’s the most common cause of hypothyroidism, or low thyroid. Graves' disease, another autoimmune condition, over-stimulates thyroid hormone production. It’s the main reason for overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism. All of these and other thyroid disorders–even thyroid cancer–are much more common in women than in men.
Thyroid disorders can cause a raft of odd symptoms such as unrelenting fatigue, weight loss or weight gain, constipation or frequent bowel movements, nervousness, bulging eyes, sleep problems, and depression. Thyroid cancer may cause a lump in the neck or no symptoms at all.
Here’s how these celebrities with thyroid diseases knew something just wasn’t right.
Kudos to this supermodel for standing up to body shamers! Hadid’s recent tweets cut through Internet trolls’ snarky remarks about her “too thin” appearance by revealing the real reason for her weight loss.
Hadid began modeling at age 17, before being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the U.S.
“Those of u who called me ‘too big for the industry’ were seeing inflammation & water retention due to that,” the 22-year-old clapped back.
Even talk-show divas need time off to take care of themselves. Williams recently announced a three-week unplanned hiatus from her daytime gig after being diagnosed with Graves’ disease.
The 53-year-old says she already knew she had a thyroid issue. But it was her viewers who detected her bulging eyes–an outward sign of this common autoimmune disease.
“I kinda knew it,” concedes Williams, who canceled an earlier doctor appointment for a business meeting. “So what I want to say to women, more than men, is stop putting everyone first, because if we’re not good, they’re not good.”
This Golden Globe-winning Jane the Virgin actress is finally coming to terms with her thyroid disease after an initial diagnosis at age 19.
“I was attending New York University and got very sick,” Rodriquez explained in a 2015 interview with U.S. News. “The doctors thought I had mono, but it turned out to be thyroid disease. Ten years later, I found out I had Hashimoto's–and my doctor said I could have had it for many years.”
Today Rodriquez strives to be healthy instead of obsessing about what the scale says. She achieves that goal by making wise food choices (most of the time) and boxing, she told SELF.
“I’m not crazy! I have Graves’ disease!” the Australian singer-songwriter proclaimed in a 2010 tweet.
Known for her quirky, face-concealing performances, Sia opened up about her fatigue and other symptoms in an interview with The Guardian.
“I basically shat my pants for eight months and shook like I had Parkinson’s,” she said.
Work It, Missy Elliott! After struggling with Graves’ disease since 2008, the hip-hop legend recently expressed gratitude for her health at Essence magazine’s ninth annual Black Women in Music event in New York City.
"I was sick and I couldn't even lift a pen," she told the audience. "My nervous system had broke all the way down. I didn’t come up here in a wheelchair. Nobody helped me get up here. I walked up here.”
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis runs in the family of this Star Trek: Beyond actress. Saldana described her condition, one she shares with her mother and sisters, in a 2016 interview with Net-a-Porter’s The Edit.
“Your body doesn’t have the energy it needs to filter toxins, causing it to believe that it has an infection, so it’s always inflamed,” she explained.
To help fight fatigue and inflammation, she opted to go gluten- and dairy-free, Saldana said.
This former Nickelodeon and MTV actress revealed her struggle with Hashimoto’s disease in a November 2015 cover story for Health.
“This Korean acupuncturist put me on a super-strict diet, where I was a pescatarian. I also couldn't eat any sugar, wheat, or dairy. I did that for about two months, and it was so intense.”
This former Dancing with the Stars cohost dealt with Hashimoto’s disease for a decade before receiving even more shocking news in 2012: A routine check-up revealed a suspicious lump in her neck that turned out to be thyroid cancer.
The dancer, model, and mom of four went public with her ordeal to encourage people to seek out routine preventive care, she told Health.
“I book that long, annoying, yearly physical, even when I feel perfectly fine. Do we really want to carve out half the day for that? No, but it's so important,” she said.
Vergara’s thyroid cancer diagnosis in 2000, at age 28, came completely out of the blue. During an endocrinologist visit for her son, the doctor asked to check her too–and found a lump in her neck.
“I felt no symptoms,” she told Health in 2011.
Thyroid removal surgery left her with hypothyroidism, for which the Emmy-nominated actress takes a daily Synthroid pill to replace the lost hormone.
It took about nine months for this legendary rocker to recover his singing voice after thyroid cancer surgery in 2000. Stewart revealed his cancer scare in 2001.
"It was only because I had a scan that it was spotted. If I had left it a couple of years it would have been a different story,” he told a British tabloid.
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Sheer fatigue and weight gain due to thyroid troubles compelled the media mogul to take an entire month off in 2007 to seek balance in her life.
“My body was turning on me,” she wrote in O, The Oprah Magazine. “First hyperthyroidism, which sped up my metabolism and left me unable to sleep for days. (Most people lose weight. I didn’t.) Then hypothyroidism, which slowed down my metabolism and made me want to sleep all the time. (Most people gain weight. I did! Twenty pounds!)"