Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month 2016

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Most often referred to as ‘National Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month’, focusing on just the US, I prefer to drop the ‘national’ and call it Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month, making it an international event, not just concerning the US.

Flowers with a caption saying 'I'm living with hypothyroidism and autoimmune disease. My body is literally attacking itself. What is your super power?'

It is estimated that 90% of the cases of hypothyroidism are caused by the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

That’s nine out of ten of us that have hypothyroidism, that have Hashimoto’s causing it. 

An autoimmune disease is a lifelong condition in which the body produces antibodies that attack its own tissues, leading to the deterioration and in some cases, to the destruction of such tissue. Hashimoto’s causes your own immune system to launch an attack against the thyroid gland, slowly destroying it over time, causing hypothyroidism. This is the cause of around 90% of cases of hypothyroidism.

You can find out if you have Hashimoto’s by testing for thyroid antibodies (Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies and Thyroglobulin Antibodies), but these are often not tested by doctors, who refuse to acknowledge it’s importance. You need both to be done preferably, as often just the one test is not accurate enough to be sure. One could have results ‘in range’, while the other not.

However, with it being Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month, it’s crucial that we raise awareness about how important testing these antibodies and knowing if you have Hashimoto’s, is.

You may be reading this right now and have no idea that you even have autoimmune hypothyroidism, but it’s worth knowing that having Hashimoto’s can alter how your hypothyroidism is treated and managed, so it’s worth knowing.

For instance, Hashimoto’s can cause your thyroid test results to move up and down, which is thought to occur due to attacks on the thyroid gland. These moving results can make you look falsely over-medicated or require your thyroid medication dosage to increase and decrease repeatedly. You may even struggle to get initial medication or be took off them because your results are suddenly ‘OK’, but this often leaves patients unwell.

Other signs and symptoms of Hashimoto’s can include symptoms that don’t go away with optimal Free T3 and T4 levels, such as brain fog, mood swings, on-going fatigue, acid reflux, aches and pains, skin problems and even heart palpitations.

Optimal thyroid medication, whether NDT, synthetic T3 and T4 or just T4, is of course important to feeling better with hypothyroidism, but with Hashimoto’s (autoimmune hypothyroidism) you likely need to look at some other things too.

You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.

This post may contain affiliate links, to find out more information, please read my disclosure statement.
If you found this article beneficial, please take a moment to share it so we can help others get better with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's, whilst also raising awareness. "Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate."

Written by Rachel, The Invisible Hypothyroidism

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