Hashimoto’s Disease: Fast Facts
Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid, a small gland in the front of your throat.
Triggered by the pituitary gland, your thyroid produces hormones that regulate how your body uses energy. With Hashimoto’s disease, your immune system produces antibodies that interfere with this process, slowing down thyroid hormone production, heart rate, cognitive ability and how quickly your body turns food into energy.
Hashimoto’s Disease is the No.1 cause of hypothyroidism; it is estimated that 90 percent of hypothyroid patients have Hashimoto’s Disease.
Studies also show a strong link between Hashimoto’s Disease and gluten intolerance. Gliadin, the protein found in gluten, is similar in molecular structure to thyroid tissue. So in cases where a patient with Hashimoto’s Disease consumes gluten, your immune system is unable to distinguish between thyroid tissue and marks both for attack in the blood stream. This is especially true for patients that also have leaky gut.
An underactive thyroid can go undetected for many years. Others may experience:
- Enlarged thyroid or goiter
- Hair Loss
- High cholesterol
- Unexplained weight gain
- Muscle aches, often in shoulders and hips
- Joint pain
- Feeling cold
- Difficulty becoming pregnant
- A pale, puffy face
- Prolonged or excessive menstrual bleeding
- Dry hair or skin
What causes Hashimoto’s Disease?
While an exact cause is unclear, those who have or who have family members with other autoimmune diseases like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or type 1 Diabetes are more likely to develop Hashimoto’s disease. Leaky gut is also thought to be a contributing factor.
The most common autoimmune disease in the United States, Hashimoto’s disease affects more women than men, and often follows pregnancy. It usually occurs during middle age.
If left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to an enlarged thyroid or goiter, mental illness, heart problems and other complications. Babies born to mothers with hypothyroidism are at greater risk for birth defects and developmental issues.
A Doctor of Functional Medicine can perform hormone and antibody tests to evaluate the health of your thyroid.
How We Can Help
We first evaluate underlying causes such as stress, gut infections, adrenal gland dysfunction, dysglycemia (high or low blood sugar), individual food sensitivities and other contributing factors. By determining your triggers through a variety of tests, we can determine a natural course of support toward healing that is specific to what your own body needs.
Once we have identified your triggers, you can get the gene to change it’s expression or shut off (known as epigenetics). When this happens many, if not all, of the symptoms being cause by this can disappear. The key to keeping this at bay is to manage stress and maintain a healthy diet & lifestyle.target="_blank">