Written by: Dr. Sarah Vadeboncoeur, Naturopathic Doctor
Did you know that the #1 cause of thyroid disease is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is considered an auto-immune disease (meaning that the immune system goes rogue and starts to attack the body instead of foreign invaders). In the case of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the immune system starts to attack the thyroid gland causing it to start to fail.
Common symptoms of Hashimoto’s include:
- Fatigue and low energy
- Unexplained weight gain
- Cold intolerance or always feeling cold
- Muscle aches and stiffness
Testing for Hashimoto’s
The sad reality is that few doctors are testing their patients to check if they have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Part of the reason is that whether you test positive or not, the standard treatment for a sluggish thyroid (hypothyroid) is levothyroxine (aka Synthroid or Eltroxin). The problem with this approach is that these medications don’t affect the immune system so there is continued destruction of healthy thyroid tissue meaning that you’re likely going to need increasing doses of medication to maintain thyroid function.
The 2 main tests used to diagnose Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are:
Both these tests measure the quantity of antibodies made against the thyroid. If you have Hashimoto’s disease, one or both of these antibody levels will be elevated. These antibody levels can be elevated even if you’re taking thyroid medication and your TSH is normal. Your Medical Doctor or Naturopathic Doctor can run these tests for you.
Stay tuned for next week’s post on A Natural Approach to Treating Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.