About Hashimoto's Disease
Currently, about 30 million Americans have thyroid abnormalities associated with thyroid hyper- or hypofunction (women are five to eight times more likely than men). An estimated one in 50 women (2%) suffer hypothyroidism. This number increases with age (up to 20% of women over age 60 have hypothyroidism). 9 of 10 cases of hypothyroid symptoms are caused by autoimmunity, making autoimmunity the most common cause of hypothyroidism. This type of hypothyroidism is known as the autoimmune thyroiditis or Hashimoto's disease.
All autoimmune conditions are usually caused by essentially the same process: the inflamed immune system mistakes healthy tissue as foreign and begins to destroy it. Autoimmune diseases can affect almost any part of the body, including the heart, brain, muscles, skin, eyes, joints, lungs, kidneys, glands, the digestive tract, and blood vessels.
The only difference between various autoimmune conditions is which organ is attacked. Autoantibody attacks on the thyroid gland cause thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s disease, characterized by fatigue, depression, muscle weakness and weight gain.
As a result of abnormal immune reactions, B-cells turn into plasma cells, factories of antibodies against thyroglobuline and peroxidase. T cells destroy thyroid tissue.
Autoimmune thyroiditis is usually treated by replacement hormone therapy which aims to manage the symptoms alone and cannot prevent tissue destruction and restore the thyroid function. Since thyroid is our metabolic control center, the thyroid dysfunction affects growth, muscle strength, appetite, the health of heart, brain, kidneys, and reproductive system. The thyroid gland is stimulated by thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) released by the pituitary gland. TSH stimulates the thyroid gland to produce a hormone called T4 which circulates in the body and converts to hormone T3. T3 is the active hormone that is absorbed by ALL the cells and tissues in the body.
Is autoimmune thyroid disease reversible?
Spontaneous recovery of thyroid function has been reported in some patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditis. The damaged thyroid can regenerate as soon as destructive autoimmune attacks are stopped. Thyroid recovery has been confirmed by ultrasounds and by negative test for thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb) and antibody against thyroglobulin (TGAb). The impact of lifestyle was underestimated.
Here we offer information to help patients with Hashimoto’s. This information will give you the tools to treat the root cause of Hashimoto’s. Since Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease, the treatment should address the autoimmune component or your immune system, to figure out what may cause the autoimmunity. The organism is fighting something — an infection, a toxin, an allergen or the stress response — and somehow it redirects its forces against own tissues. Thus, to fix immune system, you should discover and eliminate factor(s) causing autoimmunity.
It can be a destruction to the intestinal lining and consequent flow of large undigested proteins from food into blood stream resulting in chronic, immune response (it can be gluten, egg protein or casein from milk products). Another factor cause of autoimmune disease is stress. Both acute and chronic stressors have been shown to directly affect the cells of the immune system. There is evidence that certain gut flora can play a role in autoimmunity. Thus, changes in lifestyle and diet can successfully reverse autoimmune disease.