Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid. People with the disease create antibodies that attack the thyroid, a small gland located below the Adam’s apple. This inhibits the thyroid’s ability to produce hormones, which easily lead to hypothyroidism. In fact, Hashimoto’s disease is the leading cause of hypothyroidism in the United States.

Risk Factors

The exact cause of Hashimoto’s disease is relatively unknown. However, researchers have found that there are several factors that increase the risk of developing Hashimoto’s disease:

  • Sex – women are more likely to develop Hashimoto’s disease
  • Age – Hashimoto’s disease usually occurs during middle age
  • Family History – those with a family history of the disease have increased risk
  • Existing Condition – those who already suffer from an auto-immune disease have increased risk

As with many diseases, early detection is the key to effective treatment from a functional medicine facility in Atlanta, GA such as Superior Healthcare Group. If you believe you are at risk of developing Hashimoto’s disease, be on the lookout for the following symptoms:

Woman with Hashimoto’s disease needs functional medicine treatment

Sudden Onset of Lethargy

You should have a pretty good grasp of your energy levels throughout the day. If you begin to feel tired or sluggish throughout the day, yet you get enough sleep at night, you may be experiencing the onset of hypothyroidism. In this scenario, it may be a good idea to keep a sleep and activity journal to help you keep track of how many hours of sleep you get, as well how much energy you use up during daily activities. This should give you a good idea whether or not your sluggishness is not normal.

Hair Loss

Hair loss is often associated with middle age, but hair loss triggered by Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism is irregular due to how much hair is lost. Similarly, hair loss is throughout the head, rather than developing in a concentrated area and branching out. This is usually caused by the lack of hormones to regulate metabolic processes that nourish existing hair and stimulate proper hair growth.

Goiter

A goiter is a swollen lump in the neck, roughly where the thyroid should be. This is roughly caused by the damage done by the antibodies, as well as the lack of hormone production by the thyroid. Take note, however, that goiter can also be symptomatic of hyperthyroidism. Either way, it’s best to see a doctor if your develop goiter.

Treatment Options

Fortunately, Hashimoto’s disease is treatable. One of the most promising forms of treatment is stem cell therapy. This form of functional medicine typically involves harvesting fat cells from the body. The fat cells are then processed to isolate the stem cells within the fat. These stem cells are then reinjected to the body as treatment. Stem cells are widely known for their ability to morph into other types of cells based on the needs of the body. The stem cells injected into the body can help heal thyroid damage caused by the malfunctioning antibodies.

Another common form of treatment is the use of a synthetic hormone known as synthetic levothyroxine. This substance is identical to thyroxine, one of the hormones the thyroid produces. This can help regulate the symptoms of hypothyroidism, but does not necessarily treat Hashimoto’s disease itself. The use of synthetic hormones is often categorized as “maintenance medicine”; in other words, you will need to take varying doses for the rest of your life.

If your doctor confirms the presence of Hashimoto’s disease, do not hesitate to ask your doctor about all possible treatment options available to you. This is important if you are against certain treatment options, especially if the thought of synthetic hormones is not appealing to you.

Sources:

Stem Cell Therapy for Thyroid Issues: A New Frontier, VeryWell.com

Hashimoto’s disease, MayoClinic.com

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