Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or Hashi is a serious issue as it can give rise to autoimmune-mediated destruction of the thyroid gland.
This thyroid disorder was first named back in 1912 by the Japanese specialist Dr. Hashimoto Hakaru. Today, Hashimoto’s is one of the most common autoimmune endocrine diseases, especially among women.
What’s The Deal With Autoimmune Attacks?
An autoimmune thyroid disorder occurs when the immune system produces antibodies that directly target the thyroid.
This silent immune response is initiated by the presence of foreign compounds within the thyroid, or pathogens that have infiltrated the thyroid such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc. Gluten can also induce anti-thyroid antibodies.
As you can imagine, when the immune system attacks the thyroid it sparks a great deal of inflammation, and thyroid stress. In this weakened state the thyroid struggles to function properly. This fragile gland then stops producing adequate amounts of thyroid hormones.
Lab Tests For Autoimmune Thyroid Disorders
There are two specific lab tests you need to know about as these measure thyroid antibodies in the blood. These tests are critical and should be done as part of a complete thyroid panel.
Anti-thyroperoxidase (TPO) antibody test.
Sometime referred to as the TPO test, it’s the most useful test. It’s also the test most commonly used to confirm a diagnosis.
Anti-thyroglobulin antibody (TgAb) test.
These antibodies target thyroglobulin, the protein precursor that’s stored in the thyroid cells. Thyroglobulin is used to form thyroid hormones. A positive result is also used to make a diagnosis.
The TSH Test Won’t Measure Antibodies
It’s often the case that only one or two tests are used to screen for thyroid disease —> thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), or TSH plus thyroxine (T4).
It’s vital to get a comprehensive thyroid panel to properly evaluate thyroid health.
In fact, I can’t emphasis this enough if you are worried about your thyroid. When comprehensive testing is not done an autoimmune thyroid disorder is easily missed.
You are now wiser! Don’t accept everything is ‘NORMAL’ if your thyroid antibodies have not been checked.
In addition, make sure your doctor orders a thyroid ultrasound to check for any abnormalities within the gland.
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Pregnancy
Proper thyroid function is particularly important for women who are pregnant, or who are considering having a baby. For women with Hashimoto’s there is an increased risk of early miscarriage, or developing postpartum thyroiditis within the first year of having a baby.
Achieving optimal health is a journey, and we are all unique. For this reason it’s vital to work with a thyroid-literate doctor who will consider all factors impacting on your health. In effect, you may need to look beyond the standard care for hypothyroidism.
The body is a complex system so a thyroid problem should not be viewed in isolation. This gland is part of an integrated whole-body system that requires healing.
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