Hannah Corbin Autoimmune: She opens up about living with Hashimoto’s disease

Hannah Corbin, a Peloton instructor, found herself constantly fatigued and couldn’t understand the reason behind it. Teaching consecutive fitness classes was a routine part of her life, given her background as a professional dancer.

Corbin, now 31, shared with TODAY that she would often doze off on the subway ride back home from work, even missing her stop entirely. What perplexed her was the fact that she was getting a good amount of sleep, averaging between 10 to 12 hours each night.

The exhaustion she felt was unfamiliar and unparalleled to any previous experiences. Despite her weariness, Corbin managed to push herself through her Peloton classes, fueled solely by adrenaline. However, she noticed a decline in her participation in extracurricular activities and found herself frequently canceling plans with friends.

Corbin disclosed that every passing second became an arduous struggle to remain awake. She vividly described the sensation as if heavy sandbags were descending over her eyes.

Despite her commitment to a clean, anti-inflammatory diet and standing at a height of 5 feet 8 inches, the renowned fitness expert unexpectedly gained 15 pounds. This weight gain was accompanied by a pervasive feeling of swelling throughout her entire body. It was at this point that Corbin became acutely aware that something was undeniably amiss.

In 2018, roughly a year after the onset of her symptoms, Corbin received a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s disease—an autoimmune disorder that commonly targets the thyroid gland, leading to symptoms such as exhaustion and weight gain. Reflecting on her experience, Corbin recalled the moment she realized that her condition was more serious than she had initially thought.

Dr. Erik Alexander, the head of the thyroid section at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, explained that Hashimoto’s disease can manifest at any age but is more frequently observed in older individuals. Additionally, the illness is notably more prevalent in women than in men. Diagnosis of Hashimoto’s disease typically involves conducting blood work to detect specific markers.

According to Alexander, the telltale signs of Hashimoto’s disease encompass fatigue, weight gain, and constipation. Other less common symptoms may involve alterations in the menstrual cycle, thinning hair, and drier skin.

While there is presently no known cure for Hashimoto’s disease, Alexander reassured that it can be effectively managed with a once-a-day medication. “Hypothyroidism resulting from Hashimoto’s is treated by replenishing the normal thyroid hormone, typically administered in pill form,” explained Alexander. He further emphasized that individuals with the condition can lead long and healthy lives.

It has now been a span of four years since Corbin received her diagnosis, and her husband, John Ferry, no longer worries about her nodding off during her nightly commute home. Corbin regularly visits an endocrinologist every six months to monitor her hormone levels, but she is feeling stronger than ever.

Expressing her optimism, Corbin shared, “My hope is that this medication and my body will continue to cooperate with each other. I finally feel like myself again.”

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