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Healthy Living: Living with Graves’ Disease

Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 9:14 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - According to the American Thyroid Association at least 1 in 8 women will develop a thyroid disorder during their lifetime. January is a month to raise awareness of it.

In this week’s Healthy Living, we hear the story of one local woman who’s been living with her condition for 15 years.

“I was sick, I was tired, my hands were shaky my eyes were bulging,” said Tracey Parrish sharing what her life was like before her diagnosis.

“I would lose like 10 pounds in a week and then gain 15 pounds the next week,” she explained.

Parrish said during this time of her life, her business was booming, her daughter was thriving but, couldn’t understand why at times, she still felt depressed.

“Finally somebody said, I think it’s your thyroids, “she said.

Parrish was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease. It’s an autoimmune disorder that causes hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid. Parrish opted for home radiation to have them burned out or so she thought.

“It either didn’t burn all the way out or it came back,” she said. Over the years she’s learned to manage it with medication, but every now and then she’ll get symptoms.

“My memory still gets foggy. If I don’t take my medicine in one day, I don’t stutter and I’ve never stuttered, but it’s like my mind is going so fast but it’s not coming out of my mouth fast enough,” said Parrish.

Despite the highs and lows, Parrish said this is her new normal and encourages families to be patient if a loved one says they’re sick.

“Be a little more understanding and do some research and ask them questions so that you’re more educated on what their ailment might be,” she said.

If you have a health topic or health story you’d like to share, email Ariane Aramburo at aaramburo@ktuu.com.

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