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What is Hashimoto’s disease?

Hashimoto disease

Hashimoto’s disease causes hypothyroidism, a common thyroid issue in the thyroid gland, located in the front of the neck and shaped like a butterfly, is affected by this disease when the immune system produces antibodies that damage the thyroid, causing inflammation. In this article, we will further explore Hashimoto symptoms and naturopathic treatments.

This damage prevents the thyroid from making enough thyroid hormones that regulate energy use or the metabolism, of cells, which can affect various organs. Hashimoto’s disease is another name for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, or autoimmune thyroiditis.

 Join the Confident Hormone Club now for expert guidance on supporting your thyroid health and managing Hashimoto’s disease. Explore alternative approaches alongside your current treatment for a holistic path to wellness.

Hashimoto’s vs. hypothyroidism

Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism differ mainly in their root causes. Hashimoto’s disease occurs due to an immune system malfunction, where the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland. Conversely, hypothyroidism is the result of an underactive thyroid that fails to produce sufficient thyroid hormone.

Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism are closely connected. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common reason for hypothyroidism, but not everyone with Hashimoto’s develops hypothyroidism, and not all hypothyroidism cases are because of Hashimoto’s. It appears that certain individuals may have a genetic inclination to develop Hashimoto’s.

Hashimoto’s disease happens when your body makes antibodies against the thyroid, making it an autoimmune disorder. Antibodies are like soldiers in your body’s defense system, meant to fight off harmful cells. However, in Hashimoto’s, these antibodies mistakenly attack the thyroid. Sometimes, this can cause widespread damage, leading to hypothyroidism, although it doesn’t happen in every case.

How does Hashimoto affect your professional life? 

  • One common symptom of Hashimoto’s disease is fatigue, which may affect your productivity and ability to handle your workload effectively.
  • You may experience symptoms like joint and muscle pain, weight gain, and dry skin. These physical symptoms can be bothersome and may affect daily activities, work performance, and overall well-being.
  • Managing Hashimoto’s disease may involve taking medications, regular doctor visits, and blood tests. These additional healthcare responsibilities can take up time and require coordination with work schedules, potentially causing disruptions or added stress.

Who is at a higher risk of developing Hashimoto’s disease?

A review of literature by regusa in 2019  says Hashimoto’s disease is more commonly found in women, with a prevalence that is 4 to 10 times higher compared to men in areas of the world with adequate iodine intake. It is more likely to develop in women aged 30 to 50, although it can also occur in teens or young women.

 The risk of developing Hashimoto’s disease is increased if other family members have the condition. Additionally, having other autoimmune disorders such as:

  • Celiac disease (a digestive disorder)
  • Lupus (a chronic disorder affecting various body parts)
    Rheumatoid arthritis (a joint disorder)
  • Sjögren’s syndrome (causing dry eyes and mouth)
  • Type 1 diabetes (high blood sugar levels) 

Symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease

Hashimoto disease symptoms and naturopathic treatments

Hashimoto thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease that destroys thyroid cells by cell and antibody-mediated immune processes. The disease mechanism involves the creation of antithyroid antibodies that target and damage thyroid tissue, leading to the progression of fibrosis. Progressive fibrosis refers to the hardening of organ tissue into non-functional scar tissue, potentially impacting the normal function of the thyroid.

Research says Hashimoto’s is a common cause of hypothyroidism, where the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones. Sometimes, in the early stages of the disease, the damage inflicted on the thyroid can fluctuate between releasing low thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) and high levels of thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism)where the thyroid is overactive.

With hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland may become bigger, resulting in a swollen appearance in the front of your neck or enlargement, called a goiter, but it usually doesn’t cause pain. After many years or even decades, the thyroid damage can make the gland shrink, and the goiter will go away.

In the beginning, lots of people with Hashimoto’s disease don’t feel any symptoms. , As the disease progresses you might start experiencing some signs of hypothyroidism.

Hashimoto disease symptoms

  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Gaining weight without trying
  • Having difficulty staying warm in cold temperatures
  • Feeling pain in your joints and muscles
  • Having trouble going to the bathroom (constipation)
  • Having dry skin or hair that becomes thin
  • Experiencing heavy or irregular menstrual periods, or having problems getting pregnant
  • Having a slower heartbeat

What are the causes of Hashimoto’s disease?

The exact cause of Hashimoto’s disease is unknown to researchers, but it is often observed in individuals with a family history of thyroid disease. Several factors can contribute to the development of Hashimoto’s disease, including

  • Genetic factors
  • Viruses like hepatitis C
  • Certain medications used for treating mental health disorders like bipolar disorder
  • Medications containing iodine are used for treating abnormal heart rhythm
  • Exposure to toxins like nuclear radiation

These factors can also be responsible for causing hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones.

If you’ve been experiencing symptoms of hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, we encourage you to join the Confident Hormone Club to learn how to support your thyroid health from a naturopathic perspective and how naturopathic doctors manage cases of ing Hashimoto’s disease, including natural treatments like dietary changes and supplements, that can be taken concurrently with conventional treatments or medications, or in some cases, alternative medication formats to take instead of conventional Synthroid.

What is the relationship between iodine and Hashimoto’s?

 Iodine is an important nutrient that helps make thyroid hormones.  In people with Hashimoto’s disease, iodine can have a stronger stimulating effect. When the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland in Hashimoto’s disease, having too much iodine can make the problem worse. It can trigger or worsen the immune response, causing more inflammation and damage to the thyroid.

Can Hashimoto be cured by Naturopathic Treatment?

Naturopathic doctors frequently use effective management strategies to tackle Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and hypothyroidism. Their approach is designed to prevent further damage to the thyroid gland, decrease antibody counts, and boost thyroid hormone production, ultimately contributing to a successful treatment outcome.

They may recommend supplements, such as selenium, iodine, black cumin oil, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids, to support thyroid function and reduce inflammation, Besides your prescribed medication, your doctor might suggest it alone if needed, or may also propose natural desiccated thyroid hormone as a specially mixed medication, or synthetic medication like ERFA.

Natural herbal remedies may be recommended,  like ashwagandha, bladderwrack, or Coleus forskohlii, which have been historically used to promote thyroid health. However, it’s important to use them with professional guidance since they can interact with medications or have specific conditions where they should not be used. 

For guidance, you can join the Confident Hormone Club to learn more about how to support your thyroid and, adrenal, metabolic, and reproductive hormone health, in addition to or instead of any conventional treatment you are currently on.

Lupus and Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism, a common thyroid problem, is more prevalent in individuals with lupus, an autoimmune disease that affects multiple organs.  Approximately 6 percent of people with lupus have hypothyroidism, compared to 2 percent in the general population. Among lupus patients, the most common form of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s disease.

The occurrence of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism in lupus patients ranges from 0% to 11% and 4% to 24%, respectively in the general population. These frequencies are significantly higher than those in the general population, which range between 1% to 2% for hyperthyroidism and 4% to 5% for hypothyroidism.

Does Hashimoto’s make you tired?

Yes, Hashimoto’s disease, similar to hypothyroidism, can lead to feelings of chronic fatigue, sluggishness, and lack of energy to respond to acute needs. Hashimoto’s depression has been connected to disruptions in the body’s natural diurnal hormone rhythms, such as changes in mood throughout the day, body temperature, cortisol (stress hormone) levels, and sleep patterns. Furthermore, depression has also been associated with abnormal fluctuations in thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels throughout the day, which controls metabolism inside the cell to generate energy. 

Thyroid conditions, including Hashimoto’s disease, can affect a person’s mood and mental well-being, often resulting in feelings of anxiety or depression. These mental health issues may appear early in the course of Hashimoto’s disease and can worsen over time.

Evaluation of Hashimoto’s Disease

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a condition where the immune system mistakenly affects thyroid hormone production. According to research elevated levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in response to low free T4 were observed, indicating primary hypothyroidism. Additionally, the presence of anti-thyroid antibodies served as a key marker for Hashimoto’s, although their absence in some patients was noted.

Considerations extended to encompass anemia, prevalent in 30 to 40% of cases, and the observation of potential kidney-related changes leading to diminished sodium levels. Elevated creatine kinase levels were commonly identified, coupled with a potential increase in prolactin levels. Elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels were also documented.

It is noteworthy that while some practitioners may opt to assess free T3 and reverse T3 levels, this approach is not universally adopted within the framework of Western medicine. Furthermore, the utilization of a thyroid ultrasound to evaluate thyroid size, texture, and the presence of nodules was incorporated, although its indispensability for diagnostic purposes varied.

Does Hashimoto’s go away if the thyroid is removed?

Yes, Hashimoto’s disease can improve if the thyroid is taken out. The thyroid gland is the main target of the body’s attack in Hashimoto’s disease. Once the thyroid is removed, the body’s immune system won’t have a target to attack, and the symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease usually get better.

However, it’s important to know that even after the thyroid gland is removed, the body’s immune system may still make antibodies that attack the thyroid. This means you can still have Hashimoto’s disease even without a thyroid gland. However the symptoms are usually less severe in people who had their thyroid gland removed.

You don’t need to take out the thyroid gland if you have Hashimoto’s disease. Most treatments for Hashimoto’s don’t involve removing the thyroid. Ivar Guldvog in 2019 suggested that if you do remove the thyroid gland and you have Hashimoto’s, certain blood tests might get better. But it’s still not clear if removing the thyroid is a good way to treat this kind of thyroid problem.

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