- In the U.S., the most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroid. It is estimated that this autoimmune disorder is the cause of 80-90% of hypothyroid cases. This means that in most cases of hypothyroidism, the health of the immune systems must be addressed in addition to the function of the thyroid gland itself!! If you are only taking thyroid medication, you’re missing the actual problem.
- You can have all the symptoms of hypothyroidism and still have blood work that comes back as ‘normal.’ The lab ranges for ‘normal’ TSH are based on a statistical average and do not represent what is an optimal range for health and feeling good. It is quite common for people to have all the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism and yet, be told it can’t be that because their lab work is ‘normal.’ If this is your case, you should seek out a functional medicine doctor who can help you understand what is really going on with your thyroid gland.
- You can have all the symptoms of hypothyroidism without anything being wrong with your thyroid gland itself. The thyroid gland doesn’t function in isolation. To begin with, it is controlled by the brain. The gland itself only makes thyroid hormone, which then has to travel to every cell in the body, enter that cell, and then travel into the nucleus of the cell where it has its effect. Just like a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, if there is a problem anywhere along the line, the whole process breaks down and results in the same symptoms. If you have hypothyroidism, you need to have a full thyroid panel done periodically, including TSH, T4, T3, T3 uptake and TPO antibodies at the very least.
- Diet can be an important part of managing your symptoms. Especially if you do have Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroid, adoption of a gluten-free diet can have a big impact. Eating gluten actually causes more antibodies to be made to the thyroid tissue, causing more destruction of the gland over time. This can be a common reason why you have to keep upping the dosage of your thyroid medication. Eliminating gluten and adopting an anti-inflammatory diet can go a long way toward helping you keep your thyroid gland intact as well as managing your hypothyroid symptoms.
- You can do more to take charge of your hypothyroidism other than just take another pill. While ditching the medication altogether may not be in the cards for you, by managing your immune system through proper diet and lifestyle changes, you can control your symptoms and slow the development of the disease. Using a more holistic strategy may also help prevent the future development of other autoimmune diseases.
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