Kim Cattrall's Hashimoto's Diagnosis Explained

In 1998, actress Kim Cattrall was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease (via E! News). The disease, which affects the thyroid gland, is known for causing symptoms like weight gain and fatigue. For someone who works in Hollywood, the diagnosis was a blow to Cattrall. Hashimoto's can be a challenge both physically and emotionally, so close monitoring is essential (via Cleveland Clinic).

Hashimoto's is an autoimmune disease, which means that your immune system doesn't recognize your thyroid and attacks it. This causes the thyroid gland to become inflamed. As a result, it doesn't produce thyroid hormone as well. The thyroid hormone is necessary for regulating metabolism (how the body turns food into energy). When the thyroid isn't working properly, functioning slows down. If left untreated, this can lead to hypothyroidism, which is when you don't have enough thyroid hormone. Over time, this can result in symptoms such as feeling cold, constipation, depression, stiff joints, dry skin, memory problems, slow heartbeat, weight gain, and fatigue.

Hashimoto's is usually diagnosed with blood tests, and if treatment is needed, it usually consists of a synthetic form of thyroid hormone. The disease affects about 5% of people in the U.S. You're more likely to develop Hashimoto's if you're female, between 30 and 50 years old, have another autoimmune condition, or have someone in your family who also has the disease.

Cattrall's experience with Hashimoto's disease

The same year that HBO's "Sex and the City" first aired, Cattrall, the actress who played Samantha, was diagnosed with Hashimoto's (via E! News). In 2012, she told the U.K. newspaper The Express that she knew something was wrong when her energy, which was always pretty high, dipped quite a bit. She had also begun experiencing hair loss, another common symptom of the disease. She referred to the thyroid as the "body's thermometer," emphasizing how difficult it can become for the body to function when the thyroid is off kilter. The 66-year old actress said that she manages her disease by taking thyroxine (a synthetic hormone) and getting her blood tested two times per year.

Cattrall isn't the only celebrity to speak out about their experience with Hashimoto's. Model Gigi Hadid, rapper Missy Elliott, and actresses Zoe Saldana and Gina Rodriguez are among those who have been candid about their experience with the disease.

Besides treating Hashimoto's with medication, you can also manage symptoms by making dietary and lifestyle changes (via Healthline). Try following a gluten-free diet, avoiding dairy products, taking supplements like zinc and magnesium, getting enough sleep, and reducing stress.