Are your low thyroid symptoms caused by Hashimoto’s?
Have you been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and suffer from weight gain, hair loss, fatigue, depression, and other symptoms? You may have been prescribed thyroid medication, but how do you know if Hashimoto’s low thyroid is causing your hypothyroidism? Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease, meaning the immune system attacks and damages the thyroid gland, causing symptoms.
If you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, chances are high it's caused by Hashimoto’s as Hashimoto's is responsible for more than 90 percent of hypothyroid cases. But most doctors don't test for Hashimoto's because it doesn't change how they treat low thyroid symptoms. However, it's vitally important to know this information because if you have Hashimoto's, it's just as important to treat the immune system as the thyroid.
Your thyroid symptoms are worse despite taking your thyroid medication
One of the most common things people experience is they still have symptoms despite taking their thyroid meds. Often, a doctor will prescribe ever increasing dosages as thyroid function declines. Some people find when they forget to take their meds they don't notice a difference in how they feel. This is because the meds don't address the immune system attacks destroying the thyroid gland even though your TSH may look normal.
You swing between low thyroid symptoms and high
Going back and forth between high and low thyroid symptoms is another common sign of Hashimoto’s. One week you are struggling with fatigue, headaches, constipation, depression, and low libido. The next week you're mind is racing and you have insomnia, heart palpitations, anxiety, and tremors. This happens because when your immune system flares up and attacks the thyroid, this causes excess thyroid hormone to spill into the bloodstream. Your doctor may mistakenly diagnose you with anxiety or even bipolar disorder. Blood tests during these swings will show TSH also peaks and dips. TSH may even test normal as it's moving through an up or down swing. This can lead to a misdiagnosis if you drew your blood during that time.
You have pernicious anemia, celiac disease, or other autoimmunities
Autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s low thyroid result from an imbalance in the immune system. Many people with one autoimmune disease will go on to develop one or more other autoimmune diseases. This is because the immune system becomes hyper sensitive and starts losing tolerance to other tissues in the body and attacking them too. If you have low thyroid function and other autoimmune diseases, it's likely you also have Hashimoto’s. Pernicious anemia (an autoimmune B12 deficiency), celiac disease, or a gluten intolerance are other autoimmune diseases commonly seen in people with Hashimoto’s. If you think you might have Hashimoto’s low thyroid, check if you also have any of these symptoms:
Low thyroid symptoms
Feeling tired or sluggish
Feeling cold — hands, feet, all over
Require excessive amounts of sleep to function well
Weight gain despite adhering to a low-calorie diet
Gaining weight easily
Difficult, infrequent bowel movements
Depression and lack of motivation
Morning headaches that wear off as the day progresses
Outer third of eyebrow thins
Thinning of hair on scalp, face, or genitals, or excessive hair loss
Dryness of skin and/or scalp
High thyroid symptoms
Increased pulse rate, even at rest
Feeling nervous and emotional
Difficulty gaining weight
Making sure it's Hashimoto’s
Symptoms are vital to asses but a blood test gives you the proof your doctor or even family members may need to understand you are struggling with an autoimmune disease. Look for these markers: Thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO Ab). In most cases of Hashimoto’s the immune system attacks TPO, an enzyme that triggers thyroid hormone production. Thyroglobulin antibodies (TGB Ab). Make sure and test for TGB antibodies too, which the thyroid uses to produce thyroid hormones. Thyroid stimulating hormone antibodies (TSH Ab). This test can diagnose Graves’ disease (hyperthyroidism), although sometimes TSH antibodies may sometimes also be elevated in Hashimoto’s. This marker is often called thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI). In an advanced autoimmune thyroid condition, with multiple autoimmune diseases, and/or if you react to bioidentical thyroid meds but not synthetic, you may also have antibodies to T4 and T3.
When your Hashimoto's thyroid test comes back negative despite bad symptoms
Don’t worry if your test comes back negative even though you have all the symptoms; this is not uncommon. The immune system and inflammation flare and recede and when you do your test can reflect this. However, a positive test confirms Hashimoto’s low thyroid and that the immune system should be a target for management. Ask my office for more advice on managing Hashimoto’s low thyroid using functional medicine.
One of the main goals at RedRiver Health and Wellness Center is to work with patients to improve their health, wellbeing, and quality of life. The RedRiver Health and Wellness Center team is passionate about helping ailing patients achieve optimal health, and we truly care about the success of each and every patient.
RedRiver chiropractic physicians are great advocates for prescribing physicians and endocrinologists. In fact, many of our patients see their prescribing physician(s) more frequently while under our care than they would otherwise. Our goal is not to replace our patients’ primary care physicians and specialists, but to complement their care by providing patients with nutrition, diet, lifestyle and educational support and strategies. This way, patients can learn to manage their symptoms more efficiently. We have developed rewarding relationships with many prescribing physicians across the country, and we strive to continue to building relationships with MDs, DOs, NPs, and NMDs. When health professionals can work together for the benefit of the patient’s health, it becomes a win/win situation for the one who matters most—the patient.