The statistics surrounding thyroid conditions are alarming:
- One in five Americans have hypothyroidism.
- If you’re a woman, you’re more likely to develop a thyroid problem by eight fold.
- Yet, 60 percent don’t know they have a problem with their thyroid.
If you end up with a hypothyroid diagnosis, there’s a good chance it could be Hashimoto’s Disease. The unfortunate thing is that many who receive a hypothyroid diagnosis won’t know that they actually have Hashimoto’s. This is a common occurrence for two reasons:
- Your doctor has not tested for antibodies that would lead to a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s.
- Your doctor thinks the treatment of hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s should be the same and so does not make the distinction.
This is because many conventional doctors still think the best approach for treating both hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s is simply hormone replacement therapy.
Well, I’m here to tell you that approach is entirely wrong and needs changing. Let’s look at these two conditions and see what the differences are in diagnostics and treatments. Because I believe knowing whether or not you have hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s or both, is critical for developing a comprehensive and personalized treatment plan.
The Difference Between Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s
The major difference between these two conditions is their underlying cause. Again, many doctors don’t seem to think the causes matter because they focus on treating the symptoms.
However, if you want the best chance at an optimal life with your thyroid condition, knowing the cause is essential because it means you can work on both the symptoms and the root cause. This is a functional medicine approach and has been found to be much more effective in treating Hashimoto’s.
Hypothyroidism (Low Thyroid)
By definition, hypothyroidism is a clinical state, which means it’s characterized by low levels of thyroid hormone in the body, plus noticeable symptoms. You can also be considered as having subclinical hypothyroidism, which would mean you aren’t having symptoms but through lab testing you have low thyroid hormone levels.
Low thyroid hormone levels can be caused by iodine deficiency, certain medications, damage to the thyroid or surgical removal of the thyroid. Iodine deficiency used to be a big problem in the U.S. until 1924 when the government began adding iodine to salt. In countries where iodine is added to the salt, most hypothyroid cases are actually Hashimoto’s thyroiditis – an autoimmune disease.
An autoimmune disease is when the immune system becomes overactive and mistakes healthy tissue for invaders and attacks. In the case of Hashimoto’s, the immune system is attacking the thyroid gland. Eventually, if the attack on the thyroid isn’t stopped or slowed, the gland won’t be able to produce thyroid hormone. This destruction results in hypothyroidism.
This process can take years, even decades to develop. In fact, on average a person has Hashimoto’s for about 10 years before they finally receive a diagnosis. This is because symptoms don’t become bad enough for attention until late stages of the disease.
The good news is – if you’re reading this – you’re aware of this possibility that your hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s. Meaning, you can be tested for Hashimoto’s and begin approaching your disease from a more functional standpoint. This is significant because there’s a lot that can be done for autoimmune disease. Additionally, if you have thyroid conditions that run in your family, you can also be tested for both hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s.
One thing is for certain – if you’ve been tested for hypothyroidism, you should absolutely be tested for Hashimoto’s as well.
Here at Dynamic Life Health Center we order a full panel of Thyroid Testing to get a complete picture of what is happening with your Thyroid including testing for the Possibility of Hashimoto’s Disease.
For more information about our diagnosis and treatment of Hashimoto’s, please click below:
What it Means if You Have Hashimoto’s
It might sound as though an additional diagnosis is a bad thing, but in the case of Hashimoto’s it’s actually a good thing. With autoimmune disease, you can take steps to return your immune system back to homeostasis.
First, you’ll need to identify your personal triggers. A few common triggers of autoimmune disease include:
- Food sensitivities (gluten is a major culprit here)
- Intestinal permeability (leaky gut)
- Chronic infections
When you reduce your triggers you also reduce the attack on your thyroid. This might mean you’ll need fewer thyroid replacement hormones.
Other steps that help those with Hashimoto’s includes:
- Specialized diets
- Improving detoxification pathways
- Reducing inflammation
- Reducing stress
- Emotional therapy
- Treating infections
- Low dose naltrexone
- Laser therapy
- And of course, correcting thyroid hormone levels.
Find Out If Your Hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s
Don’t ignore early signs of hypothyroidism, which include:
- Weight gain.
- Difficulty losing weight
- Increased sensitivity to cold.
- Dry skin.
- Muscle weakness.
If you have thyroid conditions that run in your family, I recommend being tested in your thirties.
I’ve helped hundreds of people uncover their autoimmune disease and to treat the underlying causes to the result of greatly reduced symptoms. When it comes to thyroid hormones treatment, my patients are often happy to find that a Hashimoto’s diagnosis means a better treatment plan that reduces the overall amount of thyroid hormones needed. It gives us a clearer picture of your health so we can provide you with the steps you need to improve your quality of life.
If you suspect your hypothyroidism is actually Hashimoto’s (and statistically, it probably is) you can make an appointment with the Dynamic Life Health Center today. Simply fill out the contact form here or call 817-912-1600.