Before going over what causes Hashimoto’s, it’s important to fully understand exactly what Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is. 

Hashimoto directly affects the thyroid gland, which is in charge of making the hormones that run pretty much all of the body’s metabolic functions. Meaning it has an impact on how your body turns food you consume into energy.
Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease. Your body doesn’t recognize your thyroid as your own and attacks it. That being said, let the experts on Hashimoto’s in Champlin dissect it further and answer, what exactly causes it?

Hypothyroidism and the Body

When your thyroid gland isn’t creating enough thyroid hormones for your body’s needs, maybe your immune system has damaged it, that is when hashimoto’s hypothyroidism occurs.

Your thyroid hormones are what regulate your body’s metabolism. Without your metabolism functioning properly, you can’t turn food into energy at a healthy rate. Which is what creates one of the main side effects of hashimoto’s, low energy.

Without a sufficient amount of energy, your body won’t operate normally and your body functions will begin to slow.

Affecting your body in many different ways, both emotionally and physically, hypothyroidism is hard to live with.

Here are some more examples of hypothyroidism on the body:

  • Slowed metabolism will eventually lead to weight gain, feeling tired a lot of the time and constant low energy.
  • Memory problems and foggy thinking.
  • Women with hypothyroidism suffer irregular menstrual cycles and difficulty becoming pregnant.
  • Trouble with bowel movements, constipation, heartburn, or other digestive problems.
  • In both men and women, sexual dysfunction can occur.

Having hypothyroidism and slow metabolism can affect every part of your body’s function.

Symptoms of Hashimoto’s

Some patients with Hashimoto’s disease may not show symptoms at first. When the disease starts to progress, that is when the thyroid gland starts to become enlarged.

Better known as a goiter, this is a common first sign of someone with Hashimoto’s. Prominent by making your neck/throat look and feel swollen or enlarged.

Hashimoto’s disease is common and can be found in about 5 out of every 100 people in the US.

Another common symptom of a patient suffering from Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, is weight gain from slowed metabolism.
Usually forming from water and salt gain in the body. Contacting experts and adjusting to the correct diet and exercise regimen for your hypothyroidism is crucial.

Being diagnosed with hashimoto’s raises your risk of developing other autoimmune disorders that also create fatigue and weight gain, such as:

  • Deficiency in vitamin B12
  • Celiac disease
  • Low cortisol levels
  • Developing type 1 diabetes

Along with those more common risk factors, the symptoms of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis vary.

Here’s a list of more symptoms:
-Fatigue and sluggishness
-Increased sensitivity to cold
-Pale, dry skin
-A puffy face
-Brittle nails
-Hair loss
-Enlargement of the tongue
-Unexplained weight gain
-Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
-Joint pain and stiffness
-Muscle weakness
-Excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding
-Memory lapses’

When it comes to developing Hashimoto’s, there’s also quite a few things that could raise the chances of a patient being diagnosed.
Risk Factors

  • Sex. Women are at higher risk of getting Hashimoto’s disease.
  • Age. Hashimoto’s disease can occur no matter the age, but most likely occurs in middle aged patients.
  • Heredity. You’re at higher risk for Hashimoto’s disease if others in your family have thyroid or other autoimmune diseases.
  • Other autoimmune diseases. Having another autoimmune disease increases your risk of developing Hashimoto’s disease.
  • Radiation exposure. People exposed to high levels of environmental radiation are more likely to develop Hashimoto’s disease.

When patients are diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, it has usually been progressing slowly over a long period of time. Causing chronic thyroid damage. Which then leads to your thyroid hormone levels dropping in your blood.

The early signs and symptoms should be taken seriously. Any of which deter towards signs of an underactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism).

The Answer

Doctors aren’t certain as to why the immune system, which is supposed to defend the body from harmful viruses and bacteria, sometimes turns against the body’s healthy tissues.

The exact cause of Hashimoto’s is not known, but many factors are proven to heighten the risk of developing the disease.

Instead of protecting your thyroid tissue, your immune cells attack it. Causing hypothyroidism and over time if left untreated, can cause autoimmune disorders and completely destroy your thyroid.

In someone with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a bunch of damaged immune cells attack the thyroid. Called lymphocytes, these immune cells are where the other term for Hashimoto’s comes: chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis.

When these lymphocytes come into contact with the thyroid, they destroy everything. The cells, blood vessels and tissue in the gland. 

This process of the thyroid being destroyed is slow. Which explains why a lot of people who do have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis go a long period of time without symptoms and diagnosis.

Treatment for Hashimoto’s

Traditional treatment for hashimoto’s involves replacement therapy with thyroid hormone. This usually involves daily use of the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine.

The current conventional medical treatment for hypothyroidism is daily thyroid hormone supplementation with synthetic levothyroxine (T4), liothyronine (T3), or natural desiccated thyroid (T4 and T3) to correct low levels.  

While this treatment can be very effective for some patients, for others with Hashimoto’s taking thyroid hormone alone does not fully address the underlying cause of dysfunction. 

For some, the medication can create a back and forth of symptoms while trying to find the correct dosage. Other individuals don’t tolerate or absorb thyroid hormone well.

Yes this may work for some, but using synthetic hormones to supplement your body has its downfalls. Also, they’re only covering up the issue instead of working to treat it.

Changing your diet and taking an herbal supplement are two ways you can help your thyroid condition. 

These options may have fewer side effects than taking artificial hormones as a  thyroid medication.

Also, taking an herbal supplement to help address a low or under-active thyroid may be helpful for people who aren’t responding well to medications.

As medications are not recommended by us at Team Health Care Clinic, we believe a more natural approach to treating Hashimoto’s should be available. So, that’s exactly what we’ve created!

When considering hormone treatment, it is important to go over all factors that may explain why the immune system is attacking the thyroid gland.

Integrative and functional medical doctors have great success treating Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism with things such as: 

  • Dietary Modifications 
  • Gut Repair
  • Nutrition 
  • Stress Reduction 

If you’ve been told that you should just live with Hashimoto’s, or that artificial hormone treatment is your only option, some may not be aware of these natural treatments that help to retrain the immune system to live in synchrony with the thyroid gland.

Facts About Treatment

  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis should be diagnosed by blood tests that measure thyroid gland function and blood tests that look for antibodies against proteins found in the thyroid gland.
  • The outcome of relief with treatment for someone with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is excellent with proper care.
  • There is no cure for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. 
  • In most patients, hypothyroidism results from the inflammatory process.

Hashimoto’s Relief in Champlin

“Dr. Tim Bertsch has extensive training and experience in treating internal disorders using a functional medicine approach including applying nutrition, diet and natural health products rather than drugs.”

There are different stages to suffering with an autoimmune disorder-

Stage One: Positive antibody tests to a body tissue with no symptoms in that tissue.

Stage Two: Positive antibody tests to a body tissue with symptoms being experienced in that tissue.

Stage Three: Positive tests for antibodies plus symptoms, with evidence of the destruction of that specific body tissue.

From there, at Team Health Care Clinic we have created a comprehensive approach to treating Hashimoto’s with an autoimmune program for those struggling with Hashimoto’s and several other autoimmune diseases. 

Schedule an autoimmune disorder consultation and find out if our program is the right fit for you!