Boston Functional Medicine Specialist Explains Autoimmune Diseases

Hashimoto’s Disease

Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder, that causes your immune system to attack the healthy tissues of your thyroid gland. Overtime, your thyroid becomes damaged and can’t produce sufficient thyroid hormones, causing a long list of symptoms.

Have you been feeling totally off lately?

Dealing with chronic fatigue or brain fog?

Have you gained weight – even though you haven’t made any diet changes?

Perhaps you have more aches and pains that usual, including muscle weakness, and stiffness?

Perhaps you’ve also been feeling down lately, dealing with blue moods that you’ve never had in the past?

Whether you suffer from all these symptoms or just 2 to 3, you could be suffering from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis… an autoimmune condition affecting the thyroid.

The sad truth is that millions of people are suffering from chronic autoimmune disorders like Hashimoto’s (without even knowing it!) and many aren’t receiving the right care or have been misdiagnosed.

Also called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Hashimoto’s disease is a common autoimmune illness, a disorder in which the immune system turns on the body’s own tissues, specifically the tissues of your thyroid gland.

Autoimmunity occurs when an overburdened immune system becomes hypersensitized, attacking healthy tissues along with foreign invaders.

How do you become so sensitized? Normally, your immune system is already very busy fighting off a wide variety of invaders including allergens, toxins, bacteria and viruses.

Unfortunately, many people overload their immune systems every day, which is very harmful for your delicate thyroid gland.

Over time, when your thyroid gland becomes compromised, this can lead to hypothyroidism. With this condition, the thyroid does not produce enough hormones for the body’s needs, which is why people have feelings of extreme fatigue and other symptoms mentioned above

Your thyroid gland has a huge impact on your energy level and many other functions. Located in the base of your neck below your Adam’s apple, the thyroid gland makes hormones that control your metabolism, how well your heart beats, digestive function, muscle control, brain development, mood and bone maintenance. The thyroid also regulates how quickly your body uses calories from the foods you eat.

Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States, in fact cases of thyroid disease have skyrocketed in recent years. According to the American Thyroid Association, some 20 million people suffer from some form of thyroid disease and 50 million overall suffer from some form of autoimmune disorder. While it primarily affects adults, it can also occur in children. The onset years are typically between the ages of 30 to 50 years and based on your genetics, you may be more susceptible.

Hashimotos’s primarily affects women, in fact 80% of the people diagnosed with autoimmune diseases are women! Women are more susceptible to some autoimmune conditions for a variety of reasons, including being vulnerable during or after childbirth and having more X chromosomes (which makes you genetic predisposed).

Hashimoto’s require various testing, including a blood test to check your levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and T3, as well as T4. The presence of thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies are also tested as they are a marker for the presence of autoimmune thyroid disease.

We may also recommend additional testing. This may include specialty gut, food sensitivities  and additional hormone testing beyond just blood work to see the current state of you metabolize. This can also reveal issues with other hormones including your stress and sleep hormones as well as foods that you may be reacting to. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned or are concerned that you may be at risk for Hashimoto’s, schedule a free consultation.

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