What is Hashimoto Thyroiditis?
...and what you can do about it
Hashimoto thyroiditis is the most common form of hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland). It is an autoimmune disease, which is characterised by the thyroid gland being attacked and gradually destroyed by the body's immune system, specifically antibodies and thyroid peroxidase-specific T cells. As a result, the thyroid gland decreases in size and reduces its production of thyroid hormones. It is named after the Japanese doctor who first discovered it, Dr. Hashimoto Hakaru.
Hashimoto disease occurs more often in women than men (about 10:1) and is most prevalent in people over the age of 50.
Many thyroid disease symptoms occur as a result of Hashimoto thyroiditis. These include: weight gain, depression, sensitivity to heat and cold, high cholesterol levels, panic attacks, migranes, constipation, memory loss, muscle weakness and hair loss, just to namea few.
Hashimoto disease may be easily dignosed by testing for thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and anti-thyroid antibodies. Elevation of TSH is the first warning sign of thyroid disease as is the presence of anti-thyroid antibodies. However, if the testing isn't done Hashimoto disease may be mis-diagnosed as depression, PMS or an anxiety disorder.
There are several causes of Hashimoto disease. Firstly, it is thought to be genetically related, with a family history of the disease increasing the likelihood of a person having the disease at some stage of their life. Oxidative stress is another cause of Hashimoto thyroiditis because it inhibits iodide uptake in to the thyroid cells. A small body size at birth also increases the likelihood of Hashimoto disease in adult women.
Nutrient deficiency is another obvious cause of Hashimoto disease. Iodine and selenium deficiencies in particular may lead to Hashimoto disease. In fact, selenium supplementation has been shown to reduce thyroid antibodies! Another major contributor to hypothyroidism is inflammation. It has been demonstrated that pro-inflammatory cytokines have a suppressive effect on thyroid function. One pro-inflammatory cytokine in particular, TNF-alpha, is central to the pathogenesis of various inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.
Stress is another factor involved in hypothyroidism. Cortisol is well-kown to cause suppression of thyroid function.
Treatment for Hashimoto Thyroiditis
The treatment phase for Hashimoto disease is about 12 months. The first step is to reduce the 'free radical load' in the body. This process involves reducing the level of oxidative stress in your body. This involves consuming more fruits and vegetables, increasing your intake of omega 3s, removing potential toxins from your environment, exercising regularly (to help you lose weight) and perhaps supplementing with a powerful antioxidant like SuperFood Blend.
The next step is to reduce the inflammation. This can be done by following the dietary guidelines previously mentioned as well as using omega 3s and the herb, turmeric, which is a powerful, natural anti-inflammatory agent.
Providing your thyroid gland with adequate levels of iodine and selenium is an essential component of preventing Hashimoto thyroiditis. The easiest way to do this is by simply taking a thyroid supplement like, BCN's Thyron.
Finally, reducing stress levels in the body is important in optimising thyroid function and reducing the immune-mediated stress response. Reducing stress can be done by performing relaxation techniques, meditation and also by using certain types of supplements that are classified as, 'Adaptogens'. These are present in BCN's Thyron and BCN's Rhodiola.
When it comes to dealing with a condition like, Hashimoto thyroiditis, it is important to always work with a health care practioner who is experienced and knowledgeable in this area.
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