By Josh Redd, DC on June 22, 2018
Do you have low thyroid symptoms and are they caused by Hashimoto’s? Hashimoto's, an autoimmune disease that attacks and destroys the thyroid gland, is responsible for 90 percent of hypothyroid cases. However, the average doctor does not test for it because it does not change their treatment plan. You need to know whether you have Hashimoto’s so you can take action to prevent further damage to your thyroid gland and future autoimmune diseases. Sometimes medications normalize lab TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) values on a blood test, but that doesn't mean your autoimmune Hashimoto’s condition isn't still destroying the thyroid gland and creating symptoms. In fact, a common situation with Hashimoto’s is ever worsening low thyroid symptoms. Your doctor may keep increasing your dosage or switching medications, unaware that the real problem is with your over zealous immune system. Also common is when your symptoms and TSH levels go back and forth between being under active and over active. You may feel like you are hypothyroid one week and hyperthyroid the next. Not knowing this, some doctors even diagnose these patients either with Graves' disease, or hyperthyroidism, anxiety, or bipolar disorder when in fact the immune attacks from Hashimoto’s on the thyroid gland vary in intensity. Low thyroid symptoms include fatigue, headaches, constipation, and depression while hyper thyroid symptoms include heart palpitations, anxiety, tremors, and insomnia. Even blood tests can be misleading because TSH levels also go up and down, which can result in misdiagnosis. TSH can even be normal as it transition during one of these swings, also resulting in a misdiagnosis. Why do these swings happen with Hashimoto’s low thyroid? Autoimmune diseases go through periods of flares and remission depending on dietary, chemical, stress-related, hormonal, and other triggers. When a Hashimoto's flare damages the thyroid, this releases excess thyroid hormone into the bloodstream causing hyperthyroidism symptoms. To test for Hashimoto’s you need to test thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO Ab) and thyroglobulin antibodies (TGB Ab) test. But remember — the immune system fluctuates with all autoimmune diseases and you may get an inaccurate diagnosis. If your symptoms strongly suggest Hashimoto’s make sure and test again. Ask my office for more advice on identifying Hashimoto’s low thyroid.