Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis – 5 Causes, Symptoms and Solutions
Your thyroid gland controls a number of bodily functions. When it is not operating as it should, it can cause widely divergent symptoms that a conventional general practitioner may not easily trace back to the cause. By learning what is causing your symptoms, we can help you identify the best treatment to put your body back in balance.
Hypothyroidism Vs Hyperthyroidism
When your thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, the result is hyperthyroidism. The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves’ disease, which is an autoimmune disorder.
Hypothyroidism, by contrast, occurs when thyroid function is depressed and the gland does not produce enough of the hormones that it needs to.
What is Hashimoto’s?
Hashimoto’s disease is a condition that causes the immune system to attack the thyroid gland. The resulting inflammation can suppress your thyroid function and lead to hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s is the most prevalent cause of hypothyroidism.
How is Hashimoto’s diagnosed?
Many people do not notice the signs or symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis right away. The disease often progresses slowly and often is not caught right away, even if you are getting regular physicals.
Hashimoto’s disease is diagnosed through hormone tests and antibody tests. Your practitioner may also order imaging studies of your thyroid. Antibody tests are used to detect the presence of autoimmune disorders; people who have Hashimoto’s may have antibodies against thyroid peroxidase, which is an enzyme that is found in the thyroid gland, and against thyroglobulin, which is a protein produced by the thyroid gland.
The hormone screening test will look at hormones such as thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels. However, it is possible to have normal readings of TSH levels, yet still, be suffering symptoms of Hashimoto’s. Because of this, we look at all symptoms and complete thyroid lab workup to determine possible causes.
Symptoms of Hashimoto’s may at first seem unconnected. You may feel increasingly fatigued, no matter how much rest you get. Because your thyroid plays a part in your metabolism, you may experience unexplained weight gain. Other symptoms include:
- pale, dry skin.
- hypersensitivity to cold.
- brittle nails.
- hair loss.
- puffiness in your face.
- muscle aches and stiffness.
- joint pain.
- muscle spasms.
- menstrual irregularities.
5 Possible Causes
People who have one autoimmune disorder are at a higher risk of developing others. Scientists do not know for sure what causes Hashimoto’s disease. A few of the possible causes of this disorder:
If you have a relative who has had Hashimoto’s, Graves’ disease or another autoimmune disorder, you are more likely to develop it yourself. This higher risk level means that you should have regular thyroid function screenings even if you have never been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s.
Virus or Bacteria
Some scientists believe that an infection with a virus or bacteria may later cause your body to attack the thyroid gland.
High stress levels have been associated with a higher risk of autoimmune responses. If you suffer from chronic stress, it can serve as a trigger for Hashimoto’s or Graves disease.
People who are exposed to high levels of environmental radiation are more likely to develop Hashimoto’s disease.
Other Environmental Triggers
There is some evidence that some of the chemicals that we are exposed to can have a disruptive effect on the endocrine system. These can include solvents, chemical exposure at work and even certain household cleaners.
Our Approach and Solutions
We believe in treating the whole patient and finding the causes of their health-related issues. Only through identifying the underlying causes can we help you avoid further autoimmune issues in the future.
One of the first steps is to address potential issues with your diet that could be causing or exacerbating your hypothyroidism. Many foods are inflammatory; for instance, some individuals cannot process foods like gluten, red meat, and simple sugars well, and suffer from digestive issues as a result. We’ll help you build a diet rich in fresh vegetables, lean proteins and other foods that can fight inflammation and reduce your chances of developing autoimmune flare-ups.
Supplements can also be highly valuable in the fight against Hashimoto’s. Some individuals will find that they are lacking in certain nutrients. Supplementing can help you get the vitamins and minerals you need for higher energy and better health.
Last, we will help identify the toxins in your life that are harming your health and contributing to Hashimoto’s symptoms. Reducing alcohol consumption and replacing it with healthier, hydrating beverages can improve your health and help battle inflammation. We will also help you discover if there are household chemicals that could be causing endocrine issues and help you identify better options for a healthier home.
Even if tests from other healthcare practitioners have come back normal, you may still be suffering from Hashimoto’s disease. A normal basic thyroid screening is just one diagnostic tool; we look at all of your symptoms and we order comprehensive testing to arrive at a correct diagnosis and create a personalized treatment plan. If the symptoms of Hashimoto’s reflect symptoms that you have experienced, get in touch for a consultation today.