After years of not feeling well your Doctor finally runs the Thyroid Antibody Test, TPO and tells you that you have Hashimoto’s.
The emotional roller coaster and array of symptoms to include but not limited to fatigue, cold extremities, weight gain, joint pain, sleep issues , hormonal imbalances and hair falling out that has led you from Doctor to Doctor finally has a label.
Initially there is a sense of relief. A Doctor understands what I am going through. Now What?
The medication is prescribed to control the TSH and the symptoms improve but begin to return a few months later. The honeymoon phase is over and the frustration begins because now the labs appear normal.
The problem is there is a major disconnect between what the disease is and what you are being treated for. For instance the immune system is destroying the thyroid tissue and they are given thyroid replacement hormone to stabilize their Thyroid Stimulating Hormone or TSH.
More and more research show that this is a global immune response attacking multiple tissues, which can include the gut, brain and joints.
Questions as too is this the correct hormone or was my diagnosis accurate begin to come in to play.
Understanding the complexity of Hashimoto’s and the entire disease process is critical in understanding it. Otherwise it has the potential too impact the entire family, spouse, kids, co-workers. People will begin to think you are crazy or a chronic complainer.
It is important to manage the hormone replacement as well as diet, nutrition, lifestyle approaches, healthy family to minimize the emotional and physical roller coaster associated with Hashimoto’s.
Stress and arguments with spouses can raise interleukin-6 which triggers the autoimmune response for up to three days.
The treatment has to be comprehensive. It is just not changing your diet, fix the leaky gut and detox heavy metals.
At times having Hashimoto’s and not treating it properly will essentially make it feel like you are going crazy. There will be symptoms that you experience that will be all over the map.
To begin with it is important to identify the proper diagnosis by running a complete Thyroid Panel including antibodies to determine if it is autoimmune Hashimoto’s . If diagnosed with Hashimoto’s realize that this conditions is an autoimmune and there is no cure.
Management of Hashimoto’s has to incorporate diet and lifestyle changes along with proper supplements. Stress management, sleep, exercise and interpersonal relationships all need to be addressed.
Simple things like having someone to talk with, laugh with, and share with can create a “opioid response”, a TH3 response, which helps calm down autoimmunity.
We have also found it quite necessary for a patient with longstanding Hashimoto’s or any autoimmune issue that they need to ask themselves a few questions, “ I have just been diagnosed, now what can I do to improve my condition?
This can often times be difficult because with autoimmunity there are many scenarios that can cause flare -ups. Expectations that are reasonable need to be managed and set forth to take control of this and not be the victim and become your own expert. At times we have been diagnosed, prescribed hormone replacement therapy and our led to believe this will resolve all of our symptoms.
Initially it does, as it regulates the TSH and symptoms will improve. However, the management of the autoimmune issue is the other very important component that is essential if long -term improvement is to be obtained.
If left unchecked the immune system can attack their joints, gut, brain and they become more reactive to foods and chemicals as the body begins to lose self -tolerance.
There will be times when everything is under control and we begin to feel much better. We have different parts of our life under control. We are eating right, sleeping well, exercising, good interpersonal relationships, and taking enough time for ourselves. In fact even the antibodies on the labs look good. However, flare-ups can still happen and this needs to be recognized.
In closing Hashimoto’s needs to be addressed not only from a medication perspective but instead there needs to be a comprehensive approach. This approach includes diet, supplements, sleep, exercise, relationships, managing stress and venting when needed.