Hashimoto’s: Your Body Is Not Supposed To Destroy Itself Right?

Hashimoto's: Your Body Is Not Supposed To Destroy Itself Right?

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks and destroys its own thyroid gland. Piece by piece your body chews up and destroys your own thyroid gland as if it is the enemy. In a healthy immune system, antibodies act as the body’s army to detect and destroy invaders not normally present in the body, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. In the case of Hashimoto’s disease, a defective immune system wreaks havoc on the body by directing antibodies against its own thyroid gland as if it is a foreign invader.

Although Hashimoto’s disease is considered a leading cause of hypothyroidism around the world, it is a tragically overlooked disease in mainstream medicine. You might be thinking, “My doctor has never diagnosed me with Hashimoto’s disease. This post is not about me.” Are you sure?

You may have Hashimoto’s disease and not even know it.

Have you gone to your doctor complaining of common hypothyroidism symptoms, such as fatigue, weight gain, brain fog, muscle weakness, constipation, irregular menstrual cycles, frequent infections, dry skin, and hair loss? Has your thyroid lab test come back “normal” and your doctor tells you your thyroid is perfectly fine, yet you walk out of the office without relief from these common symptoms? Have you had your thyroid antibodies tested? Are you sure?

According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and The American Thyroid Association, iodine deficiency is the most common cause of hypothyroidism on a worldwide basis. In areas of iodine sufficiency, such as the United States, the most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.[1] Despite the prevalence of Hashimoto’s, thyroid antibodies are often NOT tested. You may have Hashimoto’s and not know it.

With Hashimoto’s, your body attacks and destroys the thyroid gland piece by piece eventually rendering your thyroid gland incapable of producing the hormones your body needs eventually leaving you with full blown hypothyroidism. This process of destruction can take years even decades, all the while you begin developing more and more hypothyroid symptoms yet your doctor’s thyroid lab tests come back “normal”.

Traditional mainstream doctors rely on a thyroid blood test called TSH, thyroid stimulating hormone, to diagnose and treat hypothyroidism. The problem with Hashimoto’s is that your TSH can turn up ‘”normal” while your body is quietly destroying your thyroid gland and your doctor has no clue because the level of destruction hasn’t YET triggered an abnormal TSH reading.

The number one issue is that many traditional doctors do NOT test for thyroid antibodies. In mainstream medicine TSH rules, leaving millions of Hashimoto’s patients around the world undiagnosed and untreated. You must be an advocate for yourself and insist on the following two thyroid antibody tests.

  • Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb)
  • Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb)

If your doctor refuses to test your thyroid antibodies, you have the option to order your own thyroid lab tests. True Health Labs is a trusted place where you can order comprehensive thyroid testing including thyroid antibodies and more. The advantage of True Health Labs is that they offer one-on-one results review with one of their Functional Medicine doctors so that you understand your lab test results and next steps. If you have a Flex Spending Account (FSA) with your employer, all lab tests ordered online at True Health Labs are FSA-friendly!

Use coupon code Limited_5 for 5% off all orders for Hypothyroid Mom fans. True Health Labs offers discounts throughout the year so be sure to check the very top of their website to see if there are any promotions going on at the time of your purchase.

*If you are located outside the areas listed for a particular test you wish to order, contact True Health Labs on their website directly for assistance.

We are more than our lab numbers. The case of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis makes this abundantly clear. While the majority of people with Hashimoto’s will test positive for one or both thyroid antibodies, there are some people with Hashimoto’s who actually test NEGATIVE for thyroid antibody levels, yes negative (suggesting normal antibody levels). Author of the book Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests Are Normal Dr. Datis Kharrazian explains in his article Unraveling thyroid antibody tests:

Some people with Hashimoto’s test negative because their overall immune health is weak and they do not produce enough antibodies. Their immune systems have been so stressed for so long that their total white blood cells and B-cells are too low to be able to make antibodies.

Doctors refuse to treat Hashimoto’s when TSH is normal.

Another major problem is that many traditional doctors refuse to treat patients who test positive for thyroid antibodies, even when they suffer debilitating symptoms, all because their TSH level is “normal”. Unfortunately TSH rules above all else in mainstream medicine when it comes to hypothyroidism. You may have Hashimoto’s disease with elevated thyroid antibodies, yet all because the destruction of your thyroid gland has not YET destroyed enough of your gland yet to trigger an abnormal TSH reading, you are refused treatment and forced to cope with your symptoms.

It is also possible that the thyroid hormone levels circulating in your blood show up “normal” on your blood tests, however the problem is they are not getting into the cells of the body to take their effect. Your blood tests turn up normal yet you have symptoms of hypothyroidism.

There are a multitude of people with Hashimoto’s disease who suffer low thyroid symptoms even though their lab tests are normal. Doctor’s trained in the mainstream protocol that “only patient’s with TSH higher than X should be treated” leave their patients with thyroid antibodies but normal TSH level untreated. They use this medical protocol to justify why their hands are tied. There are countless Hashimoto’s sufferers around the world feeling helpless right now because their doctors refuse to help them.

TSH alone does not give a full picture of thyroid health. Thyroid lab testing at minimum should include these 6 tests as described by Yale-trained physician Dr. Aviva Romm in her guest article for Hypothyroid Mom Hypothyroid Testing: TSH, Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies, and Thyroglobulin Antibodies.

Author of the book Living Well with Hypothyroidism: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Tell You…That You Need to Know Mary Shomon wrote:

It’s a controversial subject, and many endocrinologists will simply dismiss you if you ask about it. But new research has been published that supports the understanding that autoimmune Hashimoto’s disease may be preventable, slowed, or even stopped entirely before it progresses to destruction of the thyroid gland and hypothyroidism.

You are taking thyroid replacement medication, but you still have symptoms of hypothyroidism.

Are you on thyroid replacement medication and your doctor insists your thyroid lab results are in the normal range, but you still don’t feel well? Your doctor increases your dosage, you feel better for a short while then the symptoms come back again. Why do you feel sick even though your thyroid lab tests are normal?

Or perhaps you are like many Hashimoto’s sufferers with TSH levels fluctuating high and low like a wild roller coaster ride with symptoms of both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Your doctor happens to catch your TSH level during a low point and decides to reduce your thyroid medication as a result, even though you suffer terrible symptoms. Why can’t your doctor figure out why you are sick and tired?

First of all, many doctors fail to test for thyroid antibodies and they have no idea you have Hashimoto’s disease. However, even the ones that test for thyroid antibodies may not know how to help you. They rely strictly on your TSH levels and base thyroid replacement medication dosages strictly on these results and while your thyroid antibodies are high, their attention is focused on your TSH level.

The thing is Hashimoto’s is more than a thyroid condition. It’s an autoimmune disease.

What about addressing the underlying autoimmune issue? This is where conventional medicine fails to help patients. Often times mainstream doctors don’t test for thyroid antibodies because it won’t change how they treat you with Hashimoto’s – treatment with thyroid hormone replacement medication…period.

Now we know there is much that can be done to address the autoimmune issue in Hashimoto’s, but it takes a great thyroid doctor to think outside the box and investigate each patient’s case fully.

A person inherits particular genes that predisposes their immune system to misreact. During the course of a person’s life there are many possible triggers that can then turn those genes “ON” like the flip of a light switch. Once these genes are turned on, the body begins producing antibodies against their own body part, in the case of Hashimoto’s against the thyroid. If the triggers are left untreated, the attack continues. It is crucial to determine if one or more of these triggers are responsible for your condition.

Here are possible triggers to investigate.

  • Food sensitivities
  • Leaky gut
  • Adrenal dysfunction
  • Chronic Infections
  • Mold exposure
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Blood sugar imbalances
  • Sex hormone imbalances
  • Toxin exposure

When you have one autoimmune disease, you are at high risk of developing other autoimmune diseases.

If nothing is done to calm down the autoimmune attack on your thyroid gland, the risks are high that your immune system will then begin attacking other parts of your body. In her guest post for Hypothyroid Mom Autoimmune Diseases Brew In Your Body FOR YEARS Before Diagnosis Functional Medicine nutritionist Tracy Konoske wrote, “Dr. Gerald Mullin from Johns Hopkins says statistically somebody with an autoimmune disease is at risk of a total of 7 autoimmune diseases in his or her lifetime.”

  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Celiac Disease
  • Addison’s Disease
  • Cushing’s Disease
  • Alopecia Areata
  • Sjögren’s Syndrome
  • Autoimmune Urticaria
  • Ménière’s disease
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Pernicious Anemia
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
  • Raynaud’s disease
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Scleroderma
  • Vitiligo
  • Psoriasis

Although Hashimoto’s disease is a leading cause of hypothyroidism around the world, it is a tragically overlooked disease in mainstream medicine. Hashimoto’s sufferers often find little help from their doctors living decades with debilitating symptoms. If nothing is done to slow down the attack on your thyroid, you become vulnerable to develop other potentially life-threatening autoimmune diseases. Your whole body becomes fair game for attack, all while your doctor insists you are fine.

Reference:

  1. ATA/AACE. Clinical Practice Guidelines for Hypothyroidism in Adults: Cosponsored by The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and The American Thyroid Association. Endocr Pract. 2012;18(No.6):989-1028.

READ NEXT: How to treat hypothyroidism naturally

Take Back Your Thyroid Health! Sign up and never miss a post - it's FREE


About Dana Trentini

Dana Trentini founded Hypothyroid Mom October 2012 in memory of the unborn baby she lost to hypothyroidism. This is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for consulting your physician regarding medical advice pertaining to your health. Hypothyroid Mom includes affiliate links including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Connect with Dana on Google+

Comments

  1. Lost a baby in March. The previous December Tsh 6.12. Highish for years and I complained of multiple symptoms but never tested antibodies til my DENTIST said I had enlarged thyroid. Perox 71 was not a shock. Tsh same time 3.58 so “euthyroid”

    Glad to find your site. Going for sonogram on thyroid to rule out cancer. Doc dropped ball

  2. Aracelly Acosta says:

    I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism as a teenager only to find out in my 20’s that it was caused by Hashimoto’s thyroidits and I went euthyroid and taken off medication. I always had to deal with fatigue and muscle weakness but my levels every year kept coming back normal. I was so tired with constant fatigue that I decided to change my primary care physician so I can have someone look at it with a new pair of eyes. Since I told her I had Hashimoto’s she ordered a thyroid sonogram and I had a multinodular thyroid and a big mass that looked suspicious. A biopsy determined that I had a follicular lesion and further biopsy could not rule out the possibility of thyroid cancer so they sent for genetic testing. I always say listen your body.

  3. Cari barb says:

    Do thyroid disorders increase miscarriage early on or all throughout the pregnancy. I believe my daughter may have an undiagnosed thyroid condition and she 27 years old and is 33 weeks pregnant. As her mom I just found out I may have hashimottis with no symptoms. She’s had symptoms since 7th grade. Never diagnosed. Is she at risk for stillbirth with undiagnosed thyroid issues?

  4. Hey all my thyroid peroxidase level is 5737 is this something that is crazy high or is this common … I have Lyme disease to top it all off!! Had a recent seizure and mycologic seizures then after…. anyone experience this??

  5. I have been diagnosed with…Multi nodules non toxic goiter, TPO test 900…Hashimoto disease.
    Needle biopsy was done..no cancer. TSH low,T3 abd T4 not normal…Taking 100mg of L-thyrozine per day. All of this gives me hypothyroidism.
    My question to you is…Is medication enough to stop Hashimoto? I’ve read so much about diet.
    Another thought..I just had a blood test and my calcium level was 10.4..should I be concerned?
    It’s crazy like you said this gland can cause so much trouble.😣

  6. Edith Munnik says:

    It’s my first time visiting this page. I am amazed at all the info I’m getting. Thanks so much. Here in South Africa not a lot is known about Thyroid problems the doctors here prescribes medication and that’s it. My Test Results shows my Ferritin – 12, Free T4 – 8.1, S-TSH – 8.51 Thyroglobulin AB – 2.5 and Thyroid Peroxidose AB – 632.9. All that was said to me is that it is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and I was given medication. I’m constantly trying to equip myself with knowledge of this and reads about anything. But I’m getting confused as to what do you have to do or what tests is still needed. Sorry I’m all over. But what is the best way to go about this, because it doesn’t feel like the medication is doing much. I still feel tired and still struggles to sleep. I recently started having urinal tract infection and Candida, also discovered a cyst at the back of my womb and I have constant spotting. I asked several doctors if this has anything to do with Hashimoto’s and all of them replied no. I guess what I want to say is it’s nice to hear I’m not alone. Thanks for you articles and info.

  7. I am so MAD that physicians don’t know more about autoimmune conditions. I’ve been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s now for several months and it is very discouraging. I have been so very fortunate to find a physician who HAS the disease. She has been a true godsend. While I don’t understand a lot about Hashimoto’s yet, at least I feel like I have some hope. TREAT THE SYMPTOMS NOT JUST THE NUMBERS. AMEN

  8. Although my t3 and t4 are in normal level,
    My TSH level is 7.05 and its gettin worse.
    My thyroid peroxidase (tpo)ab is 782 and
    Thyroglobilin antibody is 585
    I don’t know what to do
    I’d appreciate any advice is

  9. I too lost a baby at 16 weeks gestation. I am so sorry for your loss. I am now beginning to wondering if my elevated thyroid peroxidase was the culprit. My TSH level is on the high end of normal at 4.25. My thyroid peroxidase was 291. My father also had been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in the past. I’m not exactly sure what I should do now. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

  10. Thanks for your post. You say most doctors are unlikely to treat high antibodies when Tsh is normal, but what treatment options ARE there? I have Thyroid Peroxidase (Tpo) Ab of 158 and Thyroglobulin Antibody of 392.9, but my tsh is normal. Is there any treatment (other than steroids?)

    • Although my t3 and t4 are in normal level,
      My TSH level is 7.05 and its gettin worse.
      My thyroid peroxidase (tpo)ab is 782 and
      Thyroglobilin antibody is 585
      I don’t know what to do
      I’d appreciate any advice is

    • Did you ever find out anything, Kathleen?

Speak Your Mind

*