Hashimoto’s might sound like a very exotic name for a scary condition; but truth be told, it’s FAR more common than you might think. In fact, it has been reported that over 90% of hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimoto’s!
Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease which is what happens when your immune system goes rogue and attacks tissues in your body in some form or fashion: joints, skin, intestines, brain, etc. Hashimoto’s is when your immune system specifically attacks your thyroid.
Why does this happen?
Some of the biggest culprits leading to Hashimoto’s are gluten intolerance, toxins (from food, daily products used in our households or things like mercury from fish or amalgams), blood sugar imbalances, adrenal stress and a leaky gut and infection (just to name a few).
How do you know if you have Hashimoto’s?
Hashimoto’s is largely determined by measuring thyroid antibodies through blood tests. (I will go further into this in another post, but there are many nuances to this, but this is the first place to check, symptoms are super important to pay attention to as well). Antibody tests consist of:
1) Thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb) which attack an enzyme used to synthesize thyroid hormones and are commonly elevated in both Hashimoto’s and Graves’ Disease patients.
2) Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb), attack thyroglobulin, which your thyroid uses to produce its hormones. These are typically elevated in Hashimoto’s patients.
Optimal ranges for both are really as low to zero as possible. Practitioners vary in what they feel is the “warning light” going off in terms of once numbers get elevated; some say above 15, some say 30, etc. The important thing is that you understand, zero is the goal and if you are at all elevated AND have symptoms of Hashimoto’s, it is time to act before things get worse!
Symptoms of Hashimoto’s (according to Dr. Amy Meyers) include (please remember you do not have to have ALL symptoms in order for this to be you. A few is too many and could be early warning signs!):
- Fatigue and feeling exhausted even after sleeping 8-10 hours
- Brain fog, difficulty concentrating, poor memory
- Weight gain or inability to lose weight
- Cold hands or feet, low body temperature
- Hair loss or thinning, brittle hair
- Hormonal imbalances including PMS, irregular periods, and low sex drive, infertility
- Dry skin or brittle nails
- Mood imbalances such as anxiety, depression, and mood swings
- Decreased heart rate
- Neck swelling, snoring, or hoarse voice
Why is it important to know if you are struggling with Hashimoto’s? Aside from the obvious in terms of symptoms it can cause, let me remind you that over 90% of hypothyroidism is CAUSED BY HASHIMOTO’S!
Something extremely important to understand is about ROOT CAUSE. If your hypothyroid condition is being caused by this underlying condition, treating the thyroid itself will never be enough to help alleviate the problem! You must address this autoimmune condition.
Next time we will chat about WHAT TO DO to turn this around. In the meantime, understand 2 things:
If you go to a mainstream medical practitioner and ask about this you might have these responses:
A) we don’t need to test this for _ reason.
B) if you have Hashimoto’s there’s nothing you can do about it.
This article is meant to empower you. You DO need to test for Hashimoto’s especially if you have symptoms AT ALL and if you already know you have hypothyroidism. Also, there is SO MUCH you can do about this and you can put this in remission, especially if you catch it before it gets too out of hand.
Stay tuned to dive into what we can do to turn this around!