Expert in Thyroid Disorder, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia and Hormonal Disorders Dr. Andrew Petersen explains.
Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. It also is called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. The thyroid is a small gland in the front of the neck. The thyroid makes hormones called T3 and T4 that regulate how the body uses energy. Thyroid hormone levels are controlled by the pituitary, which is a pea-sized gland in the brain. It makes thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which triggers the thyroid to make thyroid hormone.
With Hashimoto’s disease, the immune system makes antibodies that damage thyroid cells and interfere with their ability to make thyroid hormone. Over time, thyroid damage can cause thyroid hormone levels to be too low. This is called an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism. An underactive thyroid causes every function of the body to slow down, such as heart rate, brain function, and the rate your body turns food into energy. Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause of an underactive thyroid. It is closely related to Graves’ disease, another autoimmune disease affecting the thyroid.
Some of the symptoms we need to be aware of that might indicate Hashimoto's disease
Many people with Hashimoto’s disease have no symptoms for years. An enlarged thyroid, called a goiter, is often the first sign of disease. The goiter may cause the front of the neck to look swollen. You or your doctor may notice the goiter. If large, it may cause a feeling of fullness in the throat or make it hard to swallow. It rarely causes pain.
Many people with Hashimoto’s disease develop an underactive thyroid. They may have mild or no symptoms at first. But symptoms tend to worsen over time. Symptoms of an underactive thyroid include:
•Anxiety or depression
•Unexplained weight changes
•Diarrhea or constipation
•Inability to tolerate heat or cold
•Muscle/joint aches and pains
•Unusual weakness and fatigue
•Swelling of the feet, hands and face
•A hoarse voice, problems swallowing, or a tight feeling in the throat
Dr. Petersen, how do you treat Hashimoto’s disease at your Center?
At Holtorf Medical Group, we use the latest in integrative and prescription therapies to reverse the underlying immune dysfunction that can cause Hashimoto's disease. We do this by utilizing thyroid hormone replacement therapy, as well as, hormone replacement therapy, such as DHEA and testosterone. When these are supplemented, it can decrease levels of antibodies and decrease the ongoing destruction of the thyroid gland.
Supplementation with the use of selenium is also very important and should be part of your treatment protocol for Hashimoto’s. It’s important that your physician look at thyroid tests along with hormonal deficiencies to treat effectively.
Scientific studies have shown that treatment for Hashimoto's disease can relieve symptoms and reduce the progression of the disease, even in patients who do not have an elevated TSH. By proactively treating Hashimoto's disease early in patients who show any level of antibodies, it may be possible to stop the progression of the disease, save the thyroid from further damage, and save the patient from development of hypothyroidism.
If you want more information on treatment for Hashimoto’s disease, please visit HoltorfMed.com or call (801)821-5384 to talk to a patient representative. Also, for more information and studies on thyroid disorder, visit The National Academy of Hypothyroidism at www.nahypothyroidism.org.