Have you ever wondered what controls your metabolism? Deep within the endocrine system lives a small two-inch, butterfly-shaped gland called a thyroid that is responsible for regulating the body’s metabolic functions. This organ is attached to the esophagus and is located in the front of one’s neck underneath the voice-box. It releases two types of hormones to control one’s metabolism and the absorption of food in the digestive system. Many people underestimate this small organ and the amount of power that it has in the body. As a matter of fact, if untreated forms of hypothyroidism occur, this small organ can potentially cause life-threatening circumstances such as a coma, low body temperatures or even death.
Hypothyroidism has various causes, however the most common is an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system turns on itself and attacks its own cells and tissues. A healthy immune system is meant to keep the body protected from foreign antigens, bacteria and parasites that enter the body. To do this, it sends T-cells throughout the body to attack all foreign particles. Although, in an abnormal immune system, it can’t tell the difference between healthy cells and foreign bodies, thus causing it to attack healthy tissues, including the thyroid gland.
What is Hashimoto’s?
When an abnormal immune system attacks the thyroid gland, it can cause different types of hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s disease (also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis) is a type of hypothyroidism that occurs when a reduced number of hormones are being released into the body. When lymphocytes invade the thyroid, they destroy blood vessels, cells and tissues within the gland, which occurs as a gradual process. This gradual process makes it difficult to notice early symptoms. In many circumstances, early signs may not occur at all unless one receives a blood test that indicates a presence of thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies, which reveals a problem in the thyroid gland. However, some people may notice their goiter swelling (the front of the throat) which normally suggests a thyroid issue. As Hashimoto’s progresses, the attacks on the thyroid will eventually cause damage and decrease the amount of thyroid hormones within the bloodstream. Eventually, patients will begin to experience a few common symptoms in the later stages such as a puffy face, joint pain, memory lapses, depression, fatigue, and increased sensitivity to cold. According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology (AACE), Hashimoto’s is “the most common thyroid disease in the United States” affecting over 10 million Americans¹.
What Causes Hashimoto’s?
Similar to other autoimmune conditions, the cause of Hashimoto’s is unknown. The condition itself stems from a malfunction within the immune system, however understanding what causes an immune system to attack itself is still being reviewed by researchers. So far, a few risk factors have been determined as to the cause of an autoimmune development such as environmental triggers, genetics, leaky gut, nutritional deficiencies and viral infections that cause inflammation. At LifeWorks, some patients have been found with environmental toxicity, thus causing inflammation mainly within their digestive system which led to the development of leaky gut. This resulted in a vulnerable immune system causing it to act out of turn. While this isn’t the same with every Hashimoto’s case, it describes the domino effect that these factors have on the human body that can progress into a chronic thyroid disease. Furthermore, Hashimoto’s is sometimes induced by other autoimmune conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Type 1 Diabetes, and Addison’s disease.
Naturally Treating Hashimoto’s at LifeWorks
Most of the time, conventional medical practices will prescribe long-term medications to help autoimmune patients manage their symptoms. While these medications may be effective, sometimes these methods can be counterproductive and pose more health risks to the patient. Long-term medication use can add to the toxin build-up within the body, thus irritating the condition and prompting an increase in inflammation. Moreover, these methods only prove to treat the symptoms without addressing the precise issue in the system. At LifeWorks, we take a different, less invasive approach to healing autoimmunity. Patients will initially consult with a LifeWorks practitioner to discuss symptoms, current or past medications, allergies, or other conditions such as pregnancy. Subsequently, patients will be subject to undergo a testing process for an accurate diagnosis. If results reveal autoimmunity, the practitioner will place them on a specific treatment plan to follow for approximate eight to ten weeks. Treatment plans can vary depending on the autoimmune condition, however for those with Hashimoto’s, a plan normally will consist of hormone therapy, autoimmune injections, a gut program, detoxification methods, intravenous therapies, ozone therapies, peptides, supplementation and dietary changes.
Don’t Suffer with Hypothyroidism
If you or someone that you know is suffering from Hashimoto’s, forms of hypothyroidism or other types of autoimmunity, please call to schedule an appointment with one of our practitioners at 727-466-6789.