Undetected Hashimoto’s Disease
Hashimoto’s Disease is a condition in which your immune system attacks your thyroid, a small gland at the base of your neck below your Adam’s apple. The thyroid gland is part of your endocrine system, which produces hormones that coordinate many of your body’s functions.
Inflammation from Hashimoto’s disease, also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, often leads to an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the North America!
Symptoms of Hashimoto’s Disease
You might not notice signs or symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease at first, or you may notice a swelling at the front of your throat (goiter). Hashimoto’s disease typically progresses slowly over years and causes chronic thyroid damage, leading to a drop in thyroid hormone levels in your blood. The signs and symptoms are mainly those of an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism):
–Fatigue, Brain Fog and Memory Issues and Uncontrollable Weight Gain.
– Depression, Constipation, Hair Loss, Dry and Brittle Skin and Nails, Joint and Muscle Pain and more.
Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease and therefore, a disease of inflammation.
Almost every cell in the body has receptors for thyroid hormones and as the thyroid’s ability to produce hormones declines then other systems are impacted. Some of the most common of these are the liver and cholesterol metabolism, low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria), decreased bile flow
in the gall bladder, decreased pancreatic enzymes, declines in neurotransmitters, and declines in progesterone levels. This is the reason the above signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism are so varied.
Furthermore, the latest research around the world is focused on the gut microbiome (bacteria, virus, yeast living in the digestive tract). It has been discovered that intestinal permeability or leaky gut, is the common denominator of all autoimmune diseases. Disruption of the proper functioning of the digestive system leads to deficiencies in important nutrients responsible for healthy thyroid function like zinc, selenium, magnesium, iron, vitamin D and B12.
Since everyone has “triggers” or things which make inflammation worse
(some of the most common are gluten, dairy and soy proteins, stress, blood sugar imbalances and exposure to environmental toxins), and each has their own nutritional deficiencies, the Naturopathic approach to Hashimoto’s disease is to address all facets of the person’s health comprehensively. A proper health history, bloodwork and even food intolerance testing are some of the services required to ensure a customized program is created to help a person who has Hashimoto’s disease.
Complete and Proper Blood Testing for Thyroid Function
There are four markers that must be tested to comprehensively measure and monitor thyroid activity, and determine if Hashimoto’s disease exists. Remember Hashimoto’s disease is the No. 1 cause of hypothyroidism in North America so if you aren’t being tested for TPO-Ab then you aren’t getting the full picture. It is also very useful to know blood levels of certain nutrients, this is why the Naturopathic approach is important!
1) Anti-thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPO-Ab)— this test detects the presence of autoantibodies against a protein found in thyroid cells. A high value usually indicates autoimmune damage to the thyroid. You are positive for Hashimoto’s!
2) TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)
3) Free T4
4) Free T3
5) Nutrients such as Vitamin D, B12, Folate and Iron.
Please call and schedule with one of our Naturopathic Doctors to discover the natural, comprehensive approach to help you discover and deal with Hashimoto’s disease and Hypothyroidism.
Author: Bruce Bonner, MASc, RNCP