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A Functional Medicine Case Study of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

The term “Thyroiditis” refers to “inflammation of the thyroid gland”. There are many possible causes of thyroiditis. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. It is an autoimmune disorder in which antibodies directed against the thyroid gland lead to chronic inflammation. It is not known why some people make antibodies, although this condition tends to run in families. Over time, however, this results in impaired ability of the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones, leading to gradual decline in function and eventually an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). Hashimoto’s thyroiditis occurs most commonly in middle aged women, but can be seen at any age, and can also affect men, and children.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HASHIMOTO’S THYROIDITIS?

There are no signs or symptoms that are unique to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Because the condition usually progresses very slowly over many years, people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may not have any symptoms early on, even when the characteristic TPO (thyroid peroxidase) antibodies may be detected in blood tests. TPO is an enzyme that plays a role in the production of thyroid hormones. However, over time, thyroiditis causes slow and chronic cell damage leading to the development of a goiter (enlarged thyroid) with gradual thyroid failure, and most patients will eventually develop symptoms of hypothyroidism. Hypothyroid symptoms may include fatigue, weight gain, constipation, increased sensitivity to cold, dry skin, depression, muscle aches and reduced exercise tolerance, and irregular or heavy menses.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Balancing thyroid function with a patient who has Hashimoto’s can be complicated to some. Many factors may effect thyroid function that needs to be addressed, as seen below.

I recently had a female in her mid 30’s come see me for her Hoshimoto’s. She presented with symptoms of brain fog, depression, anxiety, hair loss, and exhaustion. Her TPO factors were elevated, but the TSH was not too bad from what her MD explained, at 5.33. (0.45-4.5 range for TSH) I like cases like these because no two are the same. You can not get ahead of this type of autoimmune thyroid case if you don’t address gut health and adrenal function. I ran food sensitivities with her and an adrenal stress profile. See below.

You can see she has a high amounts of food sensitivities and elevated cortisol level throughout the day. Both of which will throw off her thyroid levels regardless of altering thyroid medication. Do you have a doctor who is looking beyond a basic thyroid panel with your thyroid condition? I recommend a book by, Dr. Isabella Wentz, “Hoshimoto’s Protocol.” If you are a book reader, you’ll enjoy it. Balancing adrenal function helps out tremendously in any thyroid case, because they both work together.

Dr. J

This content was originally published here.

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