What Causes Hashimoto’s Disease, and How Do You Treat It?
Do you feel fatigued most of the time? It seems like most of us have such hectic schedules that fatigue is a natural side effect. If you are not rejuvenated after a good night’s sleep or some time off, though, there could be an underlying medical cause. Thyroid dysfunction is a common reason for fatigue, particularly Hashimoto’s disease. Could this be your problem? It could be worth asking your doctor.
How Hashimoto’s Disease Affects the Thyroid
What is Hashimoto’s disease? To understand it, you need to understand the thyroid. Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck, and it is part of your endocrine system. This is the system that produces hormones to control metabolism, body temperature, mood, breathing, and even heart rate, so it’s easy to see why a dysfunctional thyroid could have a negative impact on your health. Hashimoto’s disease, also called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, is a slowly progressing, reversible condition caused by the immune system mistakenly attacking the thyroid gland. It can affect anyone, but it’s most common among middle-aged women.
Symptoms of Hashimoto’s Disease
While fatigue is one symptom of Hashimoto’s, it’s not the only one. Early on, there may be no symptoms, but over the course of time, as low thyroid hormone levels persist, patients will develop hypothyroidism symptoms. In addition to fatigue, signs of low thyroid include weight gain, constipation, increased cold sensitivity, dry skin, depression, muscle aches, reduced exercise tolerance, and irregular or heavy menstruation. Sometimes, the inflammation of hypothyroidism can cause the thyroid to become enlarged, resulting in a goiter, which can cause neck discomfort or trouble swallowing.
If you are diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, diet may be your first line of defense. Cutting out inflammatory food and focusing on eating nutrient dense foods can improve your thyroid health and help you get your energy back. Two foods to try eliminating are gluten and dairy, which are highly inflammatory and can cause the immune system to attack the thyroid. Other foods that can elicit an immune response include corn, soy, nightshades, eggs, nuts, and seeds, so it might be worth removing these from your diet when you are working on restoring your thyroid function. Avoid processed and sugary foods in favor of whole, organic produce and grass-fed organic meats or wild-caught salmon.
Your doctor will probably prescribe Hashimoto disease medication, in the form of supplemental thyroid hormone. Commonly, patients are prescribed T4-only hormones, but many patients do better on a natural desiccated thyroid hormone that contains T3 as well as T4. People with Hashimoto’s tend to suffer from low stomach acid and anemia, so having those checked can inform the type of supplement you need. One of the best supplements for Hashimoto’s fatigue is thiamine, or vitamin B1. Because it is not stored in the body, it is necessary to get thiamine from food and supplements. Recent studies that have treated patients by prescribing them high thiamine levels have had success in alleviating symptoms, including fatigue.
Schedule An Appointment with Advanced Functional Medicine
At Advanced Functional Medicine, an integrated medical clinic, we exclusively practice functional medicine. A full functional medicine approach to healing uses a comprehensive diagnostic screening to get to the root of a patient’s issues. Our whole body approach to medicine utilizes all-natural, researched-based nutritional approaches to optimize the body’s natural healing abilities, rather than just using medication to treat symptoms. Each individual receives unique and customized care, formulated based on the latest scientific resource, and we have a 96 percent success rate in patient outcomes. As a medically driven, patient-focused health clinic, we support our patients’ individual health goals, providing natural relief for symptoms of chronic factors and expert guidance about the decisions affecting a patient’s long-term health. It is our goal to help reverse chronic disease without resorting to dangerous or unnecessary drugs or surgical interventions, promoting healing from the inside out, in its truest, healthiest form. To schedule an appointment or learn more about how we can help restore your health and strengthen your body’s unique physiological functions, call 858-500-5572 or contact us through our website.