Following on from the other posts during this Thyroid Awareness Week I thought that today I’d cover the autoimmune conditions that affect the thyroid.
Graves disease is an autoimmune condition that affects the thyroid. It produces the symptoms and signs of an overactive thyroid (hyper-thyroid).
Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune condition that affects the thyroid by slowly attacking it and causing the signs and symptoms of an under-active thyroid (hypo-thyroid).
The most important thing to remember here is that both these conditions are autoimmune diseases that affect the thyroid tissue. Not the other way around.
If you are diagnosed with one of these conditions finding the root cause of the autoimmunity is the key to getting a handle on it. This can take a while as autoimmunity is caused by several different strands. Here’s a few…
* Environmental toxins
* Leaky gut
* Poor digestion
* Cosmetics and skin products
* Allergies and intolerances
It’s thought that 80% of under-active thyroid disorder is actually Hashimoto’s and yet the treatment from the GP will be the same for non-autoimmune hypothyroiditis. Take artificial thyroid hormone to help the troubled gland. Unfortunately this won’t address the root cause and, the unless this is found and addressed, the autoimmunity, and tissue damage, will carry on regardless.
I could write reams about this (in fact I have on my blog) but suffice to say that if you have an autoimmune condition you’ll need a two, three or four pronged attack to get your autoimmunity into remission so that your thyroid has a chance to recover or at least stop being attacked. Once you’re at that stage you can start to regain great health.
Autoimmunity is described as the body getting in a tizz and attacking itself and destroying tissue. When the body is under attack it produces antibodies, testing for antibodies will give you a clearer idea if you have an autoimmune condition or not. See my post from yesterday on testing.
The problem with autoimmunity (AI) is that if you have one condition i.e. Hashimoto’s disease, chances are that you’ll have at least one other AI condition or be susceptible to more.
There are over 150 AI conditions, here are just a few…
* Addison’s disease
* Ankylosing spondylitis
* Coeliac disease
* Chronic fatigue syndrome
* Crohn’s disease
* Dermatitis herpetiformis
* Graves disease
* Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
* Interstitial cystitis
* Juvenille arthritis
* Menieres disease
* Multiple sclerosis
* Pernicious anaemia
* Raynaud’s phenomenon
* Rheumatoid arthritis
* Sjorgren’s syndrome
* Stiff person syndrome
* Type 1 diabetes
* Ulcerative colitis
(taken from ‘The Autoimmune Fix’ by Tom O’Bryan pages 24-27 and the list is way more extensive than that
And it wasn’t until I got my own diagnosis and I learned this that I identified four conditions that I have.
Being told you have hypo or hyper thyroid issues without checking for autoimmunity is only half the story. Working on improving your immune response with a structured approach will give you way more control and you’ll see more improvement than simply taking a tablet and getting back ‘into range’ on your blood tests.
If you’re interested in finding out about the last 6 months of my Hashimoto’s healing, you can find it here ->
Tomorrow I’ll talk about what happens if you leave the thyroid untreated.