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Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

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Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid eventually leading to low thyroid function.  It is also the most overlooked thyroid condition because it is rarely tested for due to the perception that there is no treatment.

Your thyroid is a small, but incredibly important gland located at the base of your neck.  It is a vital part of your endocrine system and controls how quickly the body uses energy (your metabolism), plays a role in immune function, and affects protein and neurotransmitter production.   Furthermore, for other endocrine glands to function optimally, the thyroid must be in sync and be responding to the signals it receives.   The thyroid happens to be one of the most complex hormone-producing glands in the whole body which is why it is so difficult to understand and treat.

Did you know that every cell in your body has receptors for thyroid hormones?

In Hashimoto’s disease, the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland. The resulting inflammation often leads to an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) but it can also cause symptoms of overactive thyroid.  Hashimoto’s primarily affects middle-aged women but can occur at any age, and in men and children as well.

Hashimoto’s is the most common cause of hypothyroidism.  However, many physicians do not test for the diagnostic markers associated with this disease since there is no conventional treatment for this condition.  Naturopathic medicine offers several therapies proven to reduce antibodies and correct thyroid function. By treating Hashimoto’s early on, you are more likely to prevent thyroid damage and reduce medications in the long term.

Common symptoms of hypothyroidism:

  • fatigue
  • hair loss
  • weight gain
  • depression
  • morning headaches that improve through the day
  • hypersensitivity to cold
  • poor circulation (numbness in hands and feet)
  • poor immune function
  • dry skin
  • brittle hair and/or nails
  • ankle swelling
  • constipation
  • slow wound healing
  • muscle cramps at rest
  • chronic digestive problems

Symptoms of Hashimoto’s:

  • heart palpitations
  • anxiety
  • increased pulse rate, even at rest
  • goiter
  • hair loss
  • insomnia
  • night sweats
  • weight loss/ weight gain
  • feeling nervous, emotional distress, inward trembling

If left untested and untreated for too long, the destruction of the thyroid can continue, leading to more issues in the future.  There are numerous replacement thyroid medications on the market.  One type is not necessarily the best for every person.

Simply replacing thyroid hormone in thyroiditis is not enough.  The body is creating an immune response against the thyroid and that response is going to continue without intervention.  Treatment needs to be directed towards balancing the immune system to treat the underlying cause of Hashimoto’s thyroid disease.

Dr. Schulz specializes the treatment of many autoimmune conditions including thyroiditis.

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