5 Sure Fire Ways to Know if You Have Hashimoto’s

Friday Dec 2 | BY |
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Autoimmune Disease Diagnosis. Medical Concept.

If you happened to get diagnosed with hypothyroidism, you might also have Hashimoto’s. Why is it important to know the difference between them and how can you tell if you have Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroiditis?

What Is Hashimoto’s Disease?

Hashimoto’s is the most common autoimmune thyroid disorder. For a variety of reasons, your immune system sets out to attack your thyroid gland. Over time, the thyroid gland is slowly destroyed.

A tipping point occurs when thyroid gland tissue can no longer produce thyroid hormones. At this stage, your thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level goes up, and your thyroid hormones become deficient . Your pituitary, the “master” gland that regulates hormone production in the body, makes TSH.

When TSH pushes over 4.500, it means that the pituitary gland signaled the thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormones. But, damaged thyroid tissue caused by autoimmune activity and inflammation cannot produce enough hormones.

tsh-levels

How Do I Know If I Have Hashimoto’s or Hypothyroidism?

As your thyroid gland weakens, symptoms gradually appear. At first, you may feel tired without reason. You might even wake up tired. Your skin and hair become dryer. You feel cold, even in warm weather.

If you complain to your doctor about fatigue – the main symptom of hypothyroidism – you will likely get clinical screening tests for anemia and hypothyroidism. If your TSH is elevated, your MD will diagnose hypothyroidism and prescribe synthetic thyroid hormone replacement therapy. If you see an ND (naturopathic doctor), you will get desiccated thyroid hormone like Armour Thyroid.

If you doctor takes an integrative approach, your plan will include supplements like vitamin D3, vitamin A, selenium, and the amino acid L-tyrosine to support thyroid function. Sometimes, iodine is prescribed.

But what if you have a more complicated form of hypothyroidism that routine tests cannot pick up because doctors do not routinely test patients for Hashimoto’s?

Women are three times more likely than men to develop Hashimoto’s. Some studies state that Hashimoto’s is 5 to 10 times more common in women than men. The scientific studies also note age as a factor, but my clinical experience suggests differently. I have found that many more younger women have Hashimoto’s than older ones.

There is a genetic connection too because Hashimoto’s tends to run in families. At least three genetic mutations are thought to be responsible for triggering thyroid autoimmunity. Scientists are confident that the HLA-DR5, CTLA-4, and PTPN22 genes play a major part in the autoimmune cascade that leads to Hashimoto’s.

The first step in diagnosing Hashimoto’s is based on symptoms. However, the list of symptoms is long, which is one reason Hashimoto’s is often misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome, adrenal fatigue, depression, or fibromyalgia.

Symptoms of Hashimoto’s:

  • Severe fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Pale and puffy face
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Mood changes
  • Forgetfulness
  • Trouble finding words
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Hair loss
  • Heavy menstruation

The only sure way to know if you have Hashimoto’s is from a series of blood tests and a scan of your thyroid gland.

Five Tests for Hashimoto’s:

  1. Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)
  2. Free liothyronine (T3) and free thyroxine (T4)
  3. Thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb)
  4. Thyroglobulin antibodies (TGAb)
  5. Get a thyroid ultrasound

If your TSH is high and free T3 and T4 are low, and your TPO and TG antibodies are elevated, you have Hashimoto’s.

hashimotos1

Hashimoto’s disease is more common than previously thought. Despite the high incidence of Hashimoto’s and an increasing number of cases, this debilitating condition remains poorly understood and often goes undertreated.

If you are female or have Hashimoto’s disease in your family, your thyroid screening tests should check for autoimmune activity against your thyroid gland. If you are already diagnosed with hypothyroidism, it is wise to test for TPO and TG antibodies to see if you have Hashimoto’s disease.

Dr. J. E. Williams

J. E. WILLIAMS, OMD, FAAIM

Dr. Williams is a pioneer in integrative and functional medicine, the author of six books, and a practicing clinician with over 100,000 patient visits. His areas of interest include longevity and viral immunity. Formerly from San Diego, he now resides in Sarasota, Florida and practices at the Florida Integrative Medical Center. He teaches at NOVA Southeastern University and Emperor’s College of Oriental Medicine.

Visit Dr. Williams’ Website: https://drjewilliams.com/

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