Hyperthyroidism and Running

Hello, any other runners experienced this?

 I've just been diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism & ? Grave's Disease (I also have the auto-immune condition vitilligo, so it's a possibility). Had bloods earler in the week & a discussion with the doctor yesterday.

Have experienced worsening tiredness, fatigue, weight loss, heavy/weak muscles, frequent need to go to the loo & bad skin and irritated eyes for about 2-3 months.

Been referred to an endocrinologist and I hope treatment will return the thyroid to nornal (I will miss the weight loss part though!)

Has anyone else experienced this - did it affect your running? did you have to put running on hold for a while until the thyroid function returned to normal?

The mind is willing to run, but the body isn't. Have gone from solid, consistent training to 3 miles on alternate days due to the fatigue and heavy muscles. Racing is unpleasant as I do so badly compared to when I was fully fit. Maybe it is time to put it on hold for a bit.

Just releived to have a diagnosis...for weeks I thought I was being lazy and had low motivation, but I'm glad that's not the case. I'm also posting this in case it helps anyone else in a similar situation - go & get it checked at the docs. image


  • I had Grave's Disease years ago, when I was not a runner, but I can completely understand the feeling of fatigue you're experiencing! Like running with bricks on you. My muscle mass deteriorated so much and I had no strength whatsoever.

    If you have a tip-top endochrinologist who is on the ball, they should be able to regulate your levels fairly quickly. the symptoms should then begin to minimise. I also had a doc who was a combo gyno and monitored hormone and other nutrient levels -- which led her to having me take iron supplements. (Prob not relevant if you're a guy!) She had me take other supplements like extra Vitamin D, general multivitamins, etc.

    Hang in there -- I'm sure it feels like it will never get better with the way you feel now, but trust me it does!!

  • Interestingly (or not) as a diabetic I have regular blood tests, and this last time they detected signs of hypothyroidism. Still waiting to see if they confirm it and what they propose I do about it.

  • Just a word to the wise -- if they recommend radioactive iodine treatment, explore all other options (regulating through medication) first! I had a really bad experience after that treatment with energy levels, depression, etc., even when my blood tests were normal. I learned after the fact that this is quite common.

  • Thank you for your replies - really helpfull to know other people's experiences.

    Just been for a 30 minute walk in the park & was so tired by the end I started shaking. Hopefully meds will help...it's a shock to go from a very active person, running 6 times a week to a 'wobbling' mess.

    IBF - thanks for the heads up about the radioactive iodine treatment...sometimes the side effects are a lot worse than the condition they are meant to treat. worrying to hear you had all that muscle mass loss - I do a lot of gym work and lift free weights, so hopefully will counterbalance any potential loss of muscle. I'm female & quite self-conscious so the weight loss has actually been ok...but of course I wouldn't want to lose any more weight than I have already.


    Thanks again for the replies. image

  • It should be of comfort that I really think my muscle mass loss was that I was quite young  (just 15) when I was diagnosed, and was also quite inactive at the time. So I really allowed the lethargy to take over and wasn't countering it at all. If you're actively doing what you can do to keep that activity up (even if it's much less than you'd like to be doing), I think you will be able to keep on top of it!

    Best of luck -- you're not alone and while frustrating, it can be overcome. It sounds like you're doing the right things and have the motivation and dedication to come through it with minimal loss to your fitness!

  • I had Graves Disease ended up getting my thyroid completely removed in 2009. Best (personal) decision I ever made. My endo advised no running at all while dealing with Graves Disease. I don't know if she was overreacting or just being cautious. One of the only side effects I noticed was my racing heart. Even when lying still near my husband, he used to tell me if felt like my heart was beating out of my chest. I assume my doctor was just being cautious but it may be something to speak to your doctor about.

    I was the opposite from you regarding weight loss. I had a problem losing weight while dealing with Graves Disease. I was always hungry. I actually lost weight once I had my thyroid removed and my body returned to normal. I'm not saying this will happen to you but it was my experience.

  • J77 - thank you for your post. Having the thyroid removed sounds serious - I hope you made a full recovery? The racing heartbeat must have been very worrying at the time. Can totally understand the increased appetite - i'm constantly hungry or thinking about food!

     Dont think my symptoms are as bad as yours...no racing heartbeat but finding breathing a struggle when running (if you heard me jogging behind you, you'd think, 'who the hell is that unfit lump behind me.')

    Have decided races will probably be too much at the present time (ironically 2012 was the year I broke all my PB's and ran really well), but I intend to maintain easy running for a while.

    Luckily spring is round the corner, so more chance to get out in the fresh air and do gentle exercise image

    Thank you again for your insights/responses.


  • LTS - Oh yes, I made a full recovery. I was ready to return to work two days later. For me, it was a breeze. I  tried the medication first but it didn't work out and I refused the radioactive iodine for various reasons. So for me, surgery was the only option based on my situation at the time. Looking back, the only thing I'd do differently is have the surgery earlier. But, everyone is different with different life experiences so you have to choose what's best for you. Sorry, I got off on a bit of a tangent there. image

    Oddly enough, I never thought the "pounding heart" was an issue. I think I had lived with the problem long enough to think it was normal. It wasn't until after the surgery that I realized that it wasn't. I would get out of breath while running as well - I would have been the unfit lump, too. image

    Hopefully, you'll meet with your endo soon and can get it all sorted out.

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