The number of patients who visit their doctors with complaints related to hypothyroidism is increasing. If you are one of them, then being aware of what Hashimoto’s disease is may help you determine whether or not you need better professional care from your doctor or the treatment you receive is the right one. The problem with this particular disease is that there are many options for treatment and the majority of physicians insist that taking hormones as pills is the right solution. However, treatment is different for each patient depending on his or her complaints and condition. This is why it is important to choose a specific treatment for each patient by finding the root causes for the problem and managing them. This is how we can help patients like you treat the root causes and manage the condition.
Hashimoto’s disease is a condition that is considered to be autoimmune, because your immune system starts producing antibodies against specific target substances on the cells of your thyroid gland. By doing so, these cells are being attacked by the antibodies and other immune system cells and they stop functioning correctly. Initially, patients have no symptoms, but when enough cells have been destroyed by the immune system, the thyroid is unable to produce enough hormones and hypo function is the result. Here are the most common symptoms associated with Hashimoto’s disease:
- Hair loss and brittle nails.
- Constant fatigue, as well as sluggishness.
- Loss of concentration and memory lapses.
- Muscle weakness, stiffness and pain in joints.
- Excessive menstrual bleeding.
- Tongue enlargement.
- Dry skin and puffy face.
- Weight gain and constipation.
Many of these symptoms can be associated with overloading yourself with work and other factors that can tire you. However, if you experience these symptoms even when there is no other apparent reason for them, it is time to see your doctor.
Hashimoto’s disease is associated with many complications such as the following:
- Goiter. This is an enlargement of your thyroid gland. The reason for it is the constant stimulation by the pituitary gland due to the low levels of the thyroid hormones. This enlargement could not be noticeable at first but it can be easily felt when you are swallowing. Many patients explain it as feeling pressure around their neck in the area of the thyroid gland.
- This is highly unlikely in most cases. It is a very severe hypo function of the thyroid gland and it can be life-threatening. It can also lead to coma. It needs immediate medical help.
- Mental health problems. Depression is one of the problems associated with Hashimoto’s disease. It gets more and more severe as time passes and hormones are not in the reference ranges. Patients find it difficult to explain their depression with the condition and often visit a psychiatrist without actually examining their hormones at first. It is also common for psychiatrists to start treatment without finding the root cause. This is why consulting with our team will help you determine if the treatment you receive is the right one.
- Heart problems. The so called bad cholesterol or LDL is increased when thyroid hormones are low. This is only one example of different molecular changes that happen in the body when the thyroid is not functioning properly. LDL is associated with atherosclerosis and damage to the heart cells by lowering the blood flow if the coronary arteries are affected. Heart attacks are more common in patients with Hashimoto’s disease.
- Pregnancy problems. Thyroid hormones are extremely important for the development of a baby during pregnancy. The reason for this is that the baby cannot produce these hormones on its own during the first three months of the pregnancy and if the thyroid gland of the mother is not functioning properly development is impaired. Often babies have mental retardation and other defects.
Diagnosing Hashimoto’s disease is possible with a blood test. The blood test includes the following:
- Thyroid hormones test. Determining the levels of the thyroid hormones is very important. It is possible that they are in normal ranges but to still have an autoimmune disease.
- A test for antibodies. There are two types of specific antibodies for the thyroid gland. If they are present then you can be certain you have an autoimmune disease against your thyroid gland which means you are probably of the 90% of these patients who have Hashimoto’s disease.
Depending on your levels of thyroid hormones and antibodies, your doctor may prescribe traditional treatment – hormone replacement for a certain period of time. Then it is stopped and it may be needed again after some time if the hormones are below the normal ranges. However, there are other treatment options such as finding the root causes and treating them, which is what we can provide to patients, as well as alternative treatment by certain diets and food supplements.