January 18

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How to Know if You Have Hashimoto’s Disease

By Sunny Brigham, MS, CNS, LDN

January 18, 2021


Many women (men too) wish they had known what the signs or symptoms of Hashimoto’s were before their diagnosis. Who do I know this? Because I hear them say this often. They know something was wrong but no one was listening. Or they were diagnosed with hypothyroidism but the symptoms didn’t go away regardless of the type or dosage of medication they were on.

Hashimoto’s tends to start well before hypothyroidism does. Actually, Hashimoto’s is the leading cause of hypothyroid. Many of your symptoms may not be from Hashimoto’s at all.

After reading this blog, you’ll feel nervous because your symptoms likely align with those of Hashimoto’s Disease. But this will give you the fuel you need to speak with your physician to ask for specific Hashimoto’s testing (those test names are below). And, you’ll know all the typical symptoms associated with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Let’s begin!

What is Hashimoto’s Disease? And how does this relate to hypothyroidism?

Hashimoto’s is the autoimmune disease linked to the thyroid. Likely, those diagnosed with Hashimoto’s are also diagnosed with hypothyroid. Usually, they’re diagnosed with hypothyroid first. But this isn’t the case across the board.

Actually, this shouldn’t be the case. If hypothyroidism is caught early, the thyroid can be nurtured back to health. But the longer the thyroid isn’t functioning correctly, the more damaged it becomes. The recovery rates then dwindle.

I don’t say this to be a meanie-pants. But it’s important to know.

I like to keep tabs on client’s symptoms as I work with them. If I notice any thyroid-related symptoms, I’ll work with their physician to run some labs. We’ve caught many an underactive thyroid before and have been able to get it functioning again.

But let me say it again…the longer the thyroid hasn’t been functioning well, the harder it is to recover. Most often, it’s management with medication at that point. And, of course, better nutrition so the thyroid doesn’t get worse!

But I digress. Hashimoto’s is the autoimmune side of hypothyroidism.

If you’re interested in reading how Hashimoto’s develops, you can check out a previous blog here.

Signs and Symptoms of Hashimoto’s

Each person is going to have their own set of symptoms. The most common symptoms are:

  • Fatigue that lasts all day regardless of sleep habits
  • Bloat or digestive issues
  • Temperature regulation issues
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Hair loss
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Weight gain without changes in eating habits

Some may experience other symptoms but the above are the most common.

Source

These are also common with hypothyroidism. Physicians treat hypothyroidism with medication. To most of the medical community, there is no treatment for Hashimoto’s. So, often those that are diagnosed with Hashimoto’s are treated with a “live with it” attitude.

But you don’t have to. You absolutely can take charge of your Hashimoto’s! Many of these symptoms can go away. You can live a “normal” life. How does that sound?

Why signs and symptoms are important

When these symptoms arise, usually we tell our physicians. Maybe they’ll run a TSH lab to see how the thyroid is functioning. If it’s off, then come thyroid meds. End of story.

Or is it? It shouldn’t be!

TSH is just a snapshot of overall thyroid functioning and health. And it certainly doesn’t tell you if you have Hashimoto’s.

Listening to your body is pivotal in your health and wellness journey. Many women know when something isn’t right well before any labs tell them the same.

If you think you have hypothyroid based on the symptoms or signs, get your antibodies tested as well the standard thyroid labs. If your Hashimoto’s is just starting to develop, there’s a good chance your thyroid function can be recovered.

Learning what your signs and symptoms are will be your guide. When clients feel their symptoms returning, labs will confirm they’re having a flare up. So, you don’t really need to labs to know when a flare is happening. But you do need labs for a diagnosis.

How do you know if you have Hashimoto’s?

There is truly only one way to determine if you have Hashimoto’s disease. Testing.

Testing for thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO Ab) and thyroglobulin antibodies (Tg Ab). You don’t need both numbers to be elevated…just one. But most often both will be elevated. And there are other antibody tests that can be done but these are the most popular.

I’m going to get on a soap box here for a minute. If you have hypothyroid and have never been tested for Hashimoto’s, please get tested. Again, the leading cause of hypothyroid is Hashimoto’s disease. In one week, I pushed for 3 clients to be tested for Hashimoto’s. Guess what? All 3 had it! This changes the nutritional treatment drastically!

Ok…back on track!

Allowing Hashimoto’s to run unchecked creates more inflammation in the body. This exacerbates symptoms. It also increases your chances of developing a second or third autoimmune condition.

Please get tested! Ask your doctor at your next appointment. Some physicians are hesitant because, again, there is no medical treatment for Hashimoto’s.

What next?

If you are hypothyroid, get your antibodies tested. If you have Hashimoto’s, I urge you to work with a physician, dietitian, or nutritionist that has experience in helping clients heal their Hashimoto’s.

Because it’s entirely possibly to put your Hashimoto’s into remission and feel ah-MAZING! Your symptoms don’t have to be lifelong!

Since fatigue is a HUGE factor when battling Hashimoto’s, discover the 7 specific things you can do to reduce your fatigue so you function better throughout the day!
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Reference:

Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). (2020, November 19). Retrieved December 18, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypothyroidism/symptoms-causes/syc-20350284

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