Got fatigue? Autoimmune hypothyroidism, or autoimmune reactions.

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Got fatigue? Autoimmune hypothyroidism, or autoimmune reactions.

Does your doctor tell you that your lab tests are fine and you’re perfectly healthy? Have you been to a number of specialists, clinics, and numerous healthcare practitioners to help you with your health challenges? It could be that you have autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and don’t know it.

People can develop an autoimmune reaction to virtually any tissue, enzyme, or protein in their body. Autoimmune disease, or autoimmune process means that the immune system has failed to distinguish between foreign invaders, which it was designed to attack, and its own body tissue, which it was designed to protect. In other words, having autoimmune reactions is similar to that of having “allergy to oneself’. In the case of autoimmune hypothyroidism, the immune system attacks and destroys the thyroid gland.

Symptoms of autoimmune disease vary depending on which part of the body is being attacked, but they often include chronic pain, chronic fatigue, brain fog, poor neurological function, chronic inflammation, digestive problems, poor mood, and infertility. Other complaints of Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism include cold hands and feet, depression, weight gain, constipation, and the list goes on.

Undiagnosed autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism

A common clinical presentation of people with undiagnosed autoimmunity is a set of symptoms that seem irresolvable, despite “normal” lab tests and scans.

What may be happening is that you have an autoimmune reaction to your thyroid causing hypothyroid symptoms, but the condition is not advanced enough to be diagnosed as a “disease.” Or you may have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and treated with thyroid medications, but the autoimmune process goes undiagnosed and unmanaged.

Datis Kharrazian, DHSc, DC, MNeuroSci, author of Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? and Why Isn’t My Brain Working? explains that people can have symptoms for years or even decades before being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.

Undiagnosed autoimmune disease

A person may have trouble controlling blood sugar despite a good diet because of an autoimmune reaction in the pancreas. However, not enough tissue has been destroyed for a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis. Or a person can have symptoms of multiple sclerosis, but not enough tissue has been destroyed for it to show up on an MRI. Or persistent and severe adrenal fatigue could be the result of autoimmunity in the adrenal glands not advanced enough to be diagnosed as Addison’s disease.
This is not to say you should assume a health problem is autoimmune in nature, but when it is persistent and stubborn, it is a possibility to consider.

Testing and managing autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism

Fortunately, we have autoimmunity testing today that can screen for antibodies against multiple tissues to determine whether an autoimmune reaction is causing chronic pain, or fatigue, thyroid symptoms, or infertility. Antibodies are proteins that tag a foreign compound for the immune system to destroy and remove. When you produce higher than normal levels of antibodies to certain parts of the body (it’s normal for old and dying cells to be tagged for removal), this means you are having an autoimmune reaction against that tissue or enzyme.

When a person presents with chronic thyroid symptoms, screening for an autoimmune reaction can help us determine whether Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism plays a role. If so, we then know we can work on balancing an overzealous and improperly functioning immune system. Also, if your test shows an autoimmune reaction but you have no symptoms, you now know that proper diet and lifestyle choices will help prevent the progression of autoimmunity. Avoiding gluten is especially important for those with autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, as numerous studies link the condition with a gluten intolerance or celiac disease.

If you have autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, there are many strategies to help you improve thyroid function, and increase your well being. These include an autoimmune diet and nutritional compounds to balance the immune system and quench inflammation.

Contact us how we can help you with your persistent symptoms, such as chronic pain, chronic fatigue, hypothyroid symptoms, or infertility.