Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease responsible for more than 90 percent of low thyroid cases.
Autoimmunity means your immune system attacks and destroys tissues in your body. It is a sign your immune system is dysregulated and that other body tissues are also susceptible to the development of autoimmune diseases.
Autoimmune diseases are among the most common—yet underdiagnosed and misdiagnosed—chronic health conditions today. Rates of diagnosed autoimmunity dwarf cancer and heart disease combined.
It is only when most of the tissue is destroyed in acute stages of the disease that autoimmunity is often diagnosed and treated.
Unfortunately, the average doctor does not test for Hashimoto’s because it does not change their treatment plan. Doctors receive very little education on autoimmunity. As a result, patients go years or decades being told their lab tests are normal, even though they suffer from multiple chronic and sometimes debilitating symptoms.
Many Hashimoto’s patients continue to suffer from symptoms despite medication and normal lab tests because the underlying inflammatory autoimmune condition is unaddressed.
You need to know whether you have Hashimoto’s so you can take correct action to prevent further damage to your thyroid gland and future autoimmune diseases.
While thyroid medications may normalize the TSH, that doesn’t mean your autoimmune Hashimoto’s isn’t still destroying the thyroid gland and creating symptoms.
In fact, a common sign of Hashimoto’s is ever worsening low thyroid symptoms. Your doctor may keep increasing your dosage or switching medications, unaware that the real problem is your overzealous immune system attacking the thyroid gland.
It’s common for Hashimoto’s patients to have symptoms that vacillate between low thyroid and hyper thyroid activity.
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 the thyroid is not making enough thyroid hormone due to tissue damaged sustained thus far, low thyroid symptoms result.
However, when the immune system is actively attacking thyroid tissue, thyroid hormone spills into the bloodstream, raising levels too high and causing hyper thyroid symptoms.
Not knowing this, some doctors diagnose Hashimoto’s patients with Graves’ disease, anxiety, or even bipolar disorder. Some misdiagnosed patients have even been given electroconvulsive therapy for mistaken diagnoses of bipolar disorder!
Even blood tests can be misleading because TSH levels also go up and down, which can result in misdiagnosis.
Low thyroid symptoms include:
- Worsening brain function
Hyper thyroid symptoms include:
- Heart palpitations
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.
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