The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck that produces the thyroid hormones triiodothyronine and its prohormone, thyroxine. These hormones, like all hormones, serve as chemical messengers that help the body’s organs function. The thyroid is particularly important early in life, as well as throughout life, as it helps manage the growth of the body.
As we age, however, the thyroid maintains a crucial role in our overall health and quality of life. Thyroid hormones protect physical health by orchestrating our metabolism. When the thyroid is damaged, it becomes more difficult for the body to process food into energy and use that energy efficiently.
Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism are two common thyroid conditions that are usually interconnected.
Let’s explore these two conditions, how they are linked, and their differences.
What is Hashimoto's Thyroiditis?
Hashimoto’s disease is the most common thyroid disorder in America–yet, even if you have thyroid dysfunction, you've probably never heard of it. Also referred to as Hashimoto thyroiditis or Hashimoto's hypothyroidism, Hashimoto's is an autoimmune disease. It begins with inflammation of your thyroid gland and an autoimmune attack on your thyroid hormones. The inflammation can occur suddenly and without warning, and often with no related symptoms.
Inflammation causes excess thyroid hormone to leak into the bloodstream. The thyroid hormone is taken for a foreign invader, and puts your body’s immune system on alert. It begins to attack healthy thyroid tissue, recognizing that too much hormone will put the rest of the body in danger. Unfortunately, this only compounds the effects.
As the immune assault continues, hypothyroidism usually develops as a consequence. In fact, 9 out of 10 people with hypothyroidism also have Hashimoto's.
All about Hypothyroid Disease
Is hypothyroidism a disease? The answer is yes! Although it can develop on its own, it most commonly arises as a consequence of Hashimoto’s.
What is hypothyroid? Hypothyroid refers to the underproduction of thyroid hormones that can result when the thyroid gland becomes compromised. It is possible for the thyroid to heal after damage, but the cause – whether immune-related or not – must be addressed first.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- Sudden weight gain with no other explanation
- Fatigue that does not improve with bed rest
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Brain fog
- Constipation, dry skin, and other systemic issues
Counteracting Thyroid Disorders with Help from Thyroid Experts
At the biostation, we have world-class experts on hormonal health. We help people of all ages treat issues including Hashimoto's and other hormonal imbalances that are often overlooked or misdiagnosed by traditional doctors.
Properly diagnosing your thyroid condition begins with the right testing. Our performance blood panel can establish how far the disorder has progressed, and if your thyroid dysfunction is also autoimmune related. From there, we can develop a customized plan of treatment that includes supplementation, dietary changes and naturally-based thyroid hormone if necessary. We can also order more advanced customized testing as needed to identify and address the true root causes of your thyroid issues.
With a targeted and individualized approach, it can be possible to completely reverse the symptoms of hypothyroidism and minimize further damage to the thyroid. Our patients often report feeling better after just a few days on their thyroid and autoimmune treatment plan.
To learn more about how to properly identify and treat thyroid disorders, contact our Thyroid Specialists at the biostation.