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Home Home Wellness News Hollywood Star Zoe Saldana Won't Let Hashimoto's Slow Her Down
Hollywood Star Zoe Saldana Won't Let Hashimoto's Slow Her Down
Wellness - Latest Wellness News
Jupiter, FL Dentist

You may know her as the blue-skinned creature Neytiri from the highest-grossing film of all time, Avatar. Or as Lt. Uhura from the rebooted, out-of-this world Star Trek movie franchise. Or even as killer comic book assassin Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy and its super successful sequel, Vol. 2.

Seems Zoe Saldana, 39, has the market cornered on space heroines with universal appeal.

The busy actor acknowledges how triumphing in Hollywood has its perks, yet the old adage holds true: Nothing is as important or as coveted as good health. And Saldana takes hers seriously.

Thyroid Threats

From a young age Saldana knew she was predisposed to developing Hashimoto's disease, an autoimmune disorder where antibodies attack and inflame the thyroid. The thyroid is a gland in the neck that secretes hormones and controls metabolism, affecting the body's heart rate, energy levels, and how quickly you burn calories. Her mother has Hashimoto's, as do her two sisters, with whom she recently launched a production company, Cinestar Pictures.

"My mother struggled with Hashimoto's early on in her life -- fighting fatigue, wanting to live a more active life, constantly feeling like her body was inflamed -- and we were already showing markers for it from bloodwork [we had done] as teenagers," Saldana says of herself and her siblings. "At [age] 17, I showed signs of an overactive thyroid."

This is called hyperthyroidism, and its symptoms can show up in the earliest stages of Hashimoto's. As the thyroid is attacked, it releases too much of the hormone thyroxine, bringing weight loss, rapid heartbeat, nervousness, and sometimes panic attacks.

"I had normal anxiety," says the actor, who spent her teen years studying dance. "I was just super-curious about life, eager to conquer the world. I never felt unhappy or felt heart problems. I was always on the slender side. Then, talking to doctors, I learned how the thyroid can burn out quickly [from over-activity]. That was my case. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's in my 30s."

When the thyroid "burns out," the condition flips to hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid. Symptoms often reverse, too: slowed heart rate, sluggishness, unexplained weight gain, a feeling of being inflamed, not being able to get warm, joint and muscle pain, and stubborn, sometimes difficult-to-treat depression.

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