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Hashimoto's Disease

Hashimoto's disease is in it's own category of hypothyroidism because it is an autoimmune disease that causes signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism through the destruction of thyroid tissue. In Hashimoto's disease, your body develops antibodies against your thyroid tissue, similar to the way that your body develops antibodies against the myelin sheath in Multiple Sclerosis or the synovial joints in rheumatoid arthritis. Autoimmune diseases are on the rise in industrialized countries and are becoming a serious concern. It is estimated that one in five people in the United States suffers from an autoimmune disease and around 75% of those are women.

In fact, Hashimoto's is among the most common autoimmune disease and is the leading cause of hypothyroidism in countries with adequate iodine intake. Some estimates place the incidence of Hashimoto's disease as high as 1.5 per 1000 people worldwide and as high as 3.5 per 1000 women in the United States. So has your doctor tested you for Hashimoto's disease?

Probably not. Most autoimmune diseases are treated with corticosteroids like prednisone which acts as an immune suppressor. However, a long term dose of steroids is too aggressive for Hashimoto's disease. So most doctors take the approach of treating Hashimoto's the same way they treat primary hypothyroidism. So if the treatment is the same for Hashimoto's as it is primary hypothyroidism, why run additional tests?Just monitor thyroid activity (TSH), change drug dosage amounts and wait for the thyroid to burn out completely. If to much of the thyroid is destroyed, prescription thyroid medication is necessary because the remaining thyroid tissue can not keep up with demand for thyroid hormone.

Thyroid medication may initially help with the hypothyroid symptoms, but does nothing to stop the autoimmune destruction of the thyroid which is the root cause of the hypothyroid symptoms.

Many so called "natural cures" try to treat hypothyroidism with supplements containing iodine. If it is actually a case of Hashimoto's Disease instead of primary hypothyroidism, iodine may actually exacerbate the destruction of the thyroid. The reason for this is that the thyroid uses iodine to make thyroid hormones. Increasing iodine can increase thyroid peroxidase in the thyroid which in turn speeds up the autoimmune attack on the thyroid!

Running blood tests in patients with Hashimoto's can be complicated. If a TSH test is run during an autoimmune attack, the results may be normal. The reason for this is that during the tissue destruction of the thyroid, thyroid hormones are spilt into the blood increasing the circulating levels. In turn, the pituitary gland stops releasing TSH which would cause low levels on the blood test. In fact, so much thyroid hormones can enter the blood stream during an autoimmune attack, that a Hashimoto's disease patient may actually show signs and symptoms of HYPERthyroidism. Once the autoimmune attack ends, thyroid levels fall and the patient then displays signs and symptoms of HYPOthyroidism.

We take a different approach. We do not treat hypothyroidism. We will never tell you to stop taking prescription medication and we encourage you to continue working with your primary care doctor. Our goal, in working with Hashimoto's disease patients, is to balance out the immune system to halt or slow the destruction of the thyroid. Hashimoto's Disease can never be cured, but like other autoimmune diseases, the immune system can be modified and supported to minimize the signs, symptoms, and tissue destruction of the disease. We use natural supplements, herbs and lifestyle modification to slow tissue destruction caused by Hashimoto's disease, support thyroid health and all six patterns of hypothyroidism.


All of the material on this page is intended as educational information only in regards to alternative healthcare options available to healthcare consumers. The advice on this site is intended solely for informational and educational purposes and are NOT intended to replace your doctor. Please consult a medical professional if you have questions about you health.

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